Friday, February 3, 2012

Soft Pretzels {Foodie Friday}

Growing up we had an Auntie Anne's Pretzel shop in our mall. The smell coming out of that place was so amazing that we had to stop and have one every time we were there. One time we even bought the box mix and made our own at home and they were also very, very good. I have been wanting to make these from scratch FOR.EV.E.R.
I just never had kosher salt on hand and well pretzels just aren't good without the salt. I finally got it done..and they were sooo good. I would recommend that you cook them until they are more brown than golden, but it's kind of weird when almost everything is supposed to come out of the oven at golden brown. With pretzels, though, the best part is the brown crunch, so keep them in a little longer than may be will be worth it.

Also, for this recipe I used my new measuring cup with scale. When baking a majority of items, it is recommended that you weigh them for more accuracy. I usually don't because before Christmas I didn't have a scale to do so. I'm not sure how different the results would have been without the scale, but using it brought success this time around.

Soft Pretzels

For the dough:
1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
For finishing:
Cooking spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt

To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast.  Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot.
In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope.
Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope…
cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel.  Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds.  Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet.  Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie's Eats originally from Alton Brown via Food Network

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