Friday, September 16, 2011

Soft Pretzels!


This month the Bread Baking Babes have baked up delicious soft pretzels. Bread plus salt, what could be better than that? This is an easy recipe with a lovely, leathery dough and makes for delicious dunking if you happen to have a pot of mustard handy. And if you happen to have a few beers to go with your pretzels and mustard? All the better! It is almost Oktoberfest, you know.

Thanks so much to Elle, our Babe hostess of the month. If you would like to be a Bread Baking Buddy with us this month, check out her post for details.

Happy baking! 

Soft Pretzels

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 pretzel)

Ingredients
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preparation

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope.

Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).

Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth.

Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

The Bread Baking Babes
This bread has been YeastSpotted!