Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Soft Beer Pretzels!

I am in training for Oktoberfest. Bring on the pretzels, sauerkraut, sausages and beer! I'm like the girl at the bar who, while enjoying the company of the one she is with, keeps scanning the crowds for what could be, what's next. I'm strictly talking food of course. Here we are in the middle of the greatest growing season Canada has to offer and I am already thinking about autumn foods.
It has been a long, hot season. Going outside has been very much like stepping into the tropical bird enclosures at the zoo. The air is thick and wet and you immediately lose all ability to do anything but melt onto the couch and sleep it off.
It's not that I am looking forward to winter, heavens no! All these years in Canada has not turned me into a snow-bunny at all. And the temperate seasons are all too short. But the food.. ah the food is worth looking forward to. If I lived in a climate without seasons, what would I have to look forward to?
So for this month's Bread Baking Day, I turned the clock forward a bit and made soft beer pretzels in honour of Oktoberfest. Not content to merely pair the pretzels with beer, there is beer actually in the pretzels. I am very committed that way.
Bring on the Oompah band!

Soft Beer Pretzels
Makes 1 dozen pretzels
from Fbnr.com

Ingredients
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 package (.25 ounces) rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup beer
6½ cups water, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Coarse salt

1. In large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, yeast and salt. In medium saucepan, heat beer, 1/2 cup water and oil to 120°F. Add to flour mixture; beat until moistened. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a soft dough. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for 5 to 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in warm place 15 minutes.

2. Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 6 pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a 14-inch rope with tapered ends. (Cover remaining dough while working to prevent it from drying out.) Form pretzel by creating a U shape, then cross one end over the other to form a circle, leaving about 3 inches at the end of each rope. Twist rope at base of circle and fold ends over circle to form pretzel shape. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in warm place 15 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. In large non-aluminum pot, bring 6 cups water to a boil; stir in baking soda. Working in batches, gently lower pretzels into boiling water; cook for 30 seconds, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove pretzels to wire rack coated with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Brush pretzels with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt. Bake on ungreased baking sheet 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Tip When shaping pretzels, make large exaggerated loops. Smaller loops will close when boiled.

These Soft Beer Pretzels have been Yeastspotted!

BreadBakingDay #33 - Breads with booze (last day of submission September 1st, 2010)