Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pretzels

I found bread-and-honey.blogspot.com when someone linked to a post about the broccoli package with tiny green human heads photoshopped into the florets. It's a quality blog. That's where I got the recipe for these pretzels. They got the recipe from smittenkitchen.com who got the recipe from a 1994 issue of Bon Appetit, no doubt modified along the way...
If... no, when I make these again I'll remember to add a little honey and have nutella on hand.

2 3/4 cups bread flour (I used regular all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
1 envelope quick-rising yeast (or regular active-dry yeast- it will just have to rise a little longer)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
Cornmeal
5 cups water
1/8 cup baking soda
1 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
Coarse salt (I used kosher salt)

Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Gradually add the hot water. I used just a little over a cup. Mix with a wooden spoon until its combined into a ball. Turn the dough out into another bowl thats been coated with some vegetable oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel; let dough rise in a warm draft-free area until it's doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.

Punch down the dough and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces. From here you can shape them into pretzels, balls, knots, whatever. Place the 8 pretzels on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with a towel for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray another baking sheet (really, just use one and line with foil) with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 5 cups of water to a bowl in 2 qt saucepan and then lower the heat so it's not rolling. Add baking soda and sugar. The water will foam up a bunch from the baking soda and then subside, so just add it slowly. Add 2 pretzels at a time and poach them for a minute, flipping them half way through. Remove them with a slotted spoon and line them up on the baking sheet.

Brush the pretzels with the egg wash, sprinkle generously with coarse (kosher) salt. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. I forgot to set a timer, so I just went by eye and took them out when they looked nice and golden.

After the second rise

Poaching

poached, egg washed, salted, ready to bake

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