It’s ALWAYS Pretzel Time

I LOVE BREAD!

It’s not the first or last time I’ll ever announce that. Depending on what it is, I like it hard, I like it soft, I like it with butter, I like it with garlic sauce – I just like it. CORRECTION – I LOVE IT – as previously announced.  One type of bread I can’t keep my hands off are soft pretzels <sigh>.  It’s so bad The Eagle knows not to even ask me if I want one from the concession stand if ever at the theater, park or event.  AND to my surprise, someone has been placing a box of frozen pretzels in my cart when I’m alone at the grocery store. (shifty eyes low to the right, tilts head and walks away…)

OK FINE – IT’S ME!

I’M THE ONE WHO THINKS IT’S PRETZEL TIME – EVERY TIME!!!

 

 

It’s another day at the market.  I find a good parking spot.  People are focused, reviewing their list and confirming their selections.  I grab a cart while placing my ear buds in.  “Hmm MJ or DA playlist?” I ask myself.  I enjoy singing along to a fun tune as I toss my money into the shelves of each aisle.

As for myself, once again I’m torn as to which box of frozen pretzels to purchase.  Selections are slim.  It’s usually the Super Pretzel, but once I was close to maxing out my budget and had to suffer with the Kroger brand .  “Oh gosh – never again!” I reminded myself.   Whenever at Von’s I’m able to grab the Auntie Anne’s box, of which is obviously the best of the three.  It’s the softest of them all and offers the best taste.  I also reeeaaalllyyy appreciate their packets of butter sauce and salt inside the box.  The other two only offer the salt packets.  Note, I prefer to not use much salt therefore, I LITERALLY have a collection of salt packets from each box in the cabinet.   Maybe I should dump them all in a jar and label it pretzel or coarse salt.  I’ll figure it out soon enough.

As the days go by, the frozen pretzels run out and I’m not sure how <chuckle> .  I will say this, frozen pretzels are not the way people.  I’ve only purchase these bread, boxed treats because most times I don’t have the time to make them from scratch.  Well…today is one of those days when I do.  Time to pull out some ingredients people <eye wink>.

IMG_4153

You know we all love a recipe so here we go!

RECIPE 1:

Homemade Pretzels

2 cups milk
1 & 1/2 tablespoon of active dry yeast (2 packets)
6 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, soft
4 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus as needed, up to an additional 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
coarse salt (amount, personal preference)

  • Warm milk until temperature reaches 110 degrees, about 1 – 2 minutes if using the microwave.
  • Sprinkle yeast into milk in bowl of an electric stand mixer or regular bowl if by hand and whisk together until yeast has dissolved.
  • Add in sugar, 4 tablespoon softened butter, 1 cup flour and 2 teaspoon salt into milk mixture and stir until blended.
  • Add the remaining 3 & 1/2 flour, using a dough hook if working with machine and knead on medium-low speed until elastic. Mix in the additional 1/2 cup flour, but as needed, until dough pulls away from your hands or the sides of the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise for an hour in a warm place until doubles in size.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Don’t forget to grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper like I did.
  • Punch dough down to release any air and divide dough into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece out into a long, thin ropes about 25 inches long on a lightly floured surface into a pretzel shape.  (scroll below for more detail)
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together baking soda and warm water to immerse pretzel into water mixture and allow excess water to drip off.  I’ve placed them in a flat strainer with attached handle.  I’ve learned this was easier for me, especially when working with the kids.
  • Once pretzels are all on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter.

 

Here’s another recipe, mostly for baking a few soft pretzels …

RECIPE 2:

1 & 1/2 teaspoon (basically 1/2 tbsp) yeast

2/3 cp warm water

1 & 1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tbsp + 2 teaspoon veg oil (or whatever you prefer)

1 & 1/2 + 2 tablespoon flour

  • Gently combine everything into a bowl covered in plastic wrap/towel and allow to rise for an hour. (or you can do the bag method in warm water)
  • While the dough is rising, 30 minuets in, turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove dough from bowl/bag onto a lightly floured surface.  If too wet, simply add a little more flour until it is not sticking as much to your hand, but still soft and pulls away from bowl.
  • Roll out 6 strands.  I’m about 25″ in length.
  • (detail) Take each strand and shape the pretzel to your liking.
    • What the basic twist?  Take both ends and allow the right to cross over the left and let go.  Leaving your left hand still, take your right, place under your left and now grab both ends.  Finish out the twisting motion by moving the left hand to the left, allowing the right to move right.  Take both ends and connect to the top of the pretzel by gently pressing down.
  • Do you want the brown coating/top or not?  For me it’s not that serious so I don’t usually bother and simply dip them in melted butter and lightly sprinkle with coarse salt before they go into the oven (I use the saved packets), but if you are interested…
    • Brush egg yolk along the top of the dough and sprinkle with salt.  Place on cookie sheet and place in oven.
    • OR combine in a bowl 2 tbsp of baking soda and a cup of hot water.  Dip shaped, uncooked pretzel in solution.  Place on cookie sheet/baking pan and place in oven.
    • OR in a pot, boil the shaped, uncooked pretzels for about a minuet.  Removed (use tong) and place on cookie sheet and place in oven.

 

 

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