Monday, September 30, 2013

Preztels of Love/Shame

First off, a hearty congratulations to my co-blogger, Erica, and her husband, TJ, on a fantastic wedding - the weekend was such a treat, and I know these two have a long and happy partnership ahead of them.

I know you must be thinking -- didn't Erica just post about a delicious cake? What is that a picture of? Are those pretzels?? And, um, beer?

As I think most of you are well aware, at this point, I am the delinquent blogger. If a post is late, or doesn't have photos, it's probably my fault. This summer has been particularly rough, and I've been sitting on a JULY post until now. and now that I actually went to write it, lo and behold, I have no photos. Good think I have mad skills in paint.  (Jen, where are you when I need you?)

The July challenge was pretty nifty -- we were allowed to pick any prior challenge and give it another go. Erica and I reached far back into the archives, to before we were daring bakers, and selected a early, easy, and delicious challenge -- preztels (I know you're sad we didn't pick suet pie). They became the center of a carb and cheese-centric meal shared with our partners (pretzels, beer, and pizza), particularly once we added a delicious cheese sauce to the mix. Making pretzels is actually quite easy (what, you want a recipe? I tried to find it, I promise, but that disappeared along with the photos, oh look at that -- see below). You throw together a quick dough, roll out into logs and form, coat with a baking soda topping, and pop in the oven. Done!

Fingers crossed for a delicious (fall themed?) October recipe! 


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel, as illustrated. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste.

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