Sunday, February 14, 2016

Soft Pretzels

I made these for a care package for my sweetheart for Valentine's Day.  He's still trying to avoid sugar as much as possible, which means no red cupcakes or pink cookies or similar, and I despaired at finding something visually related to the holiday until the light dawned: heart-shaped pretzels!  The recipe would make 4 pretzels, I used it to make 2 plus a bunch of pretzel bites. 
  • 3/4 C warm water, 110-115°F
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 envelope active dry yeast (1 1/8 tsp) (not rapid rise)
  • 11 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 oz unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C baking soda
  • 2 C cold water
  • pretzel salt (or kosher salt)
1.  Heat oven to 350°F.  Combine the warm water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
2.  Add flour and butter and, using dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Remove dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, then oil it well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.  At the same time, spread baking soda on a baking pan and bake at 350°F while dough is rising - about 55 minutes.  Be very careful when removing pan from oven!  Do not breathe in the soda dust!
4. Turn oven heat up to 375°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
5. Add baked soda to cold water, stir to dissolve. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, and, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place into cold water solution and allow to soak for 3-4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
6. Remove pretzels from water using a large flat spatula or spider. Place onto lined pan and sprinkle with salt.  Allow to air-dry for 15 minutes.  Move to a fresh section of the pan and bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, watching for appropriate browning. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes before serving.

Robyn's notes: this is multiple recipes from other sources combined and reduced.  I can't eat anything that requires chewing at the moment (just had surgery), so no star rating or opinion on finished product until he gives me his feedback.  This was actually a very easy baked good to make, even though there are so many steps.  For the pretzel bites, I let them air-dry for about 10 minutes instead of 15, and baked for about 10 minutes instead of 20.  Each was about an inch of dough prior to baking.