Monday, 11 October 2010

Soft Pretzels!

Officially Oktoberfest is over in the first week of October, but I don't think that should stop us from celebrating with Brezn, soft pretzels, and of course Bier, beer.
This month the Mellow Bakers have been baking up Jeffrey Hamelman's pretzel recipe, many of us trading in his traditional lye wash for the easier-to-find-around-the-house baking soda hot water bath. The results are deliciously salty, chewy pretzels that are best gobbled up warm from the pan. It's good to be German for a day, ja?

adapted from BREAD by Jeffrey Hamelman by Oggi of I can do that!

Pretzels and Pretzel Buns
Oggi made buns too, which is a great idea. Check out her post to see them. I just made the pretzels this time around. 
Begin the night before, with the pre-ferment.

pâte fermentée
1 cup/4.2 ounces bread flour
3/8 cup/2.7 ounces water, room temperature
¾ teaspoon/0.08 ounce salt
pinch of instant yeast

final dough
3 7/8 cups/1 pound 1 ounce bread flour
1¼ cups/10 ounces water
½ tablespoon/0.3 ounce salt
¾ teaspoon/0.08 ounce instant yeast
2 tablespoons/1.1 ounce soft butter
2 teaspoons/0.02 ounce dia static malt powder
all the pre-ferment

poaching liquid
6 cups hot water
¼ cup baking soda

for topping
coarse sea or kosher salt

    * Prepare the pâte fermentée: Stir the yeast into the water, then mix in the flour and salt until smooth. Cover with plastic film and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at 70°F.

    * Prepare the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add all the final dough ingredients except the pâte fermentée. Mix on the first speed for 3 minutes. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. The dough will be a bit stiff. Increase to second speed and mix for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer into a container, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 1 hour. Transfer the dough on the kitchen counter, flatten slightly into a rectangle and fold one third over to the left and the other third over to the right like a letter. Turn 90 degrees and fold again from right to left then left to right then flip over and return to the container seams side down. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for another hour.

    * Shape the dough: Divide the dough into 3-ounce pieces. Round the pieces for burger buns and roll with your palm. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan 3 inches apart and flatten the dough to less than 1 inch thick. Cover with plastic film. For hot dog rolls, flatten into a rectangle 5 x 3 inch rectangle and roll tightly, using the heel of your hand to seal the seams. Roll into a a 6-inch log. Place on the sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. To shape the pretzels, roll the pieces into a log. Let the logs relax for a few minutes, covered with plastic. Roll the logs to 16 inch long with the center thicker than the ends. Twist the ends twice and press on the sides or near the bottom. Arrange on the parchment-lined sheet pan 3 inches apart, adjusting the shape. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the plastic and let stand for another 10 minutes.

    * Prepare the water: Heat the water to boiling and add the baking soda. It will bubble. Turn the heat to medium and poach the pieces, 2 at a time, 30 seconds on both sides. Remove with a skimmer and return to the sheet pan, good side up.

    * Score the buns: For the round buns, with a sharp knife score the top with a ¼-inch deep cross; hot dog buns, straight down the middle. Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt or seeds and score the bottom, if desired.

    * Bake the buns and rolls: Put the pans in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until buns are dark brown, rotating pans halfway during baking. Enjoy while warm.

These pretzels have been Yeastspotted!