Monday, September 21, 2009

Soft Pretzels

Wow, has the summer flown by! We have been so busy. We went to Portland, OR for 10 days and it was amazing, especially the food. The restaurants in Portland don't mess around. We went to Newport, a small city on the coast, hiked mount St. Helens, which erupted 3 days before I was born(interesting fact). We also went to the Columbia Gorge and saw some amazing waterfalls. We went to some great wineries and brought home four bottles. Three bottles from Cor Cellars and 1 bottle from Syncline. Now, we are back home and hopefully we will have more time to post some delicious treats. We also stayed with Chris's good friend Steve Jones of Steve's Cheese. His cheese shop is amazing. If you live in the area, or ever visit, you must go there! Ok, on to the pretzels. I have always wanted to make these and I got more inspiration after we bought some delicious pretzel rolls from the farmers market. I combined a few different recipes.

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
5 cups flour- I used 3 white and 2 wheat.
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened.
1/4 cup baking soda
salt to sprinkle on top- When we were in Portland, we bought some fancy salt from The Meadow. Who knew there could be so many different types of salt?

Mix the warm water and sugar in a bowl, once it has dissolved add in the yeast and mix. Let it stand for about 5-10 minutes. It should get foamy.

In a separate glass bowl mix the flour and salt. Crumble the butter into the flour with your fingers and get it mixed together really well.

Pour the yeast mixture into the flour. I used a spatula to mix. I use the spatula to start the kneading process. If it is too wet, feel free to sprinkle in a little more flour. Once mixed, get your hands in and knead it. Some people prefer to knead on a board, but I usually just do it in the bowl. After you have kneaded the dough, give it a light coat of olive oil. I take the dough out of the bowl and pour a little olive oil into the bottom of the bowl and then return the dough to the bowl and roll it around to coat. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes.

It is time to make pretzels! Remove the dough from the bowl cut the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece between the palms of your hands till they are each about 18 inches in length. Form a U-shape and then twist the 2 ends and then press them into the bottom of the U. The picture may help with this. Place them on parchment paper.

Once you have them all shaped into little pretzels it's time to start boiling the water. Also heat your oven to 475 degrees. Get out a large pot and fill it with about 2 inches of water, once it is boiling add in 1/4 cup of baking soda. Stand back because it does get pretty foamy. You can reduce the heat, so you have nice simmer. Place the pretzels into the water, cook for about 1 minute on each side. I used a wide slotted spatula to remove them from the boiling water. Place each pretzel on a baking rack. After they come out of the water you can sprinkle a little salt on the top. Once you have filled a baking pan with pretzels, place it in the oven for 11-15 minutes. They are delicious straight out of the oven. When I first took a bite, I was like, yeah, this tastes like a good!

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