Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Red Sox & Big, Chewy, Soft Pretzels

It's that time of the year again! The buds are blooming. Windows that have spent an entire season closed to keep out the siege of winter frost are now opening to let in the much welcomed perennial return of beaming sun and warm air. And let us not forget... BASEBALL! Nothing says 'spring' in Boston like our beloved Red Sox back on the field, for better or worse.

I LOVE big, chewy, soft pretzels. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would bring me to Fenway Park a few times a year and I would always get a pretzel to eat while I watched the game.

Once you get the hang of it, they're super easy to make and really delicious. The fact is, game day or not, Pretzels are a good anytime food, especially if you're having friends over. But after one bite, you just might want to keep them all for yourself.

P.S. The picture above is my Dylan >^..^<~

Soft Pretzels

Recipe courtesy and adapted slightly from Alton Brown, Food Network
He knows his stuff!


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
2 tablespoon dark brown or white sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water (I used butter instead)
Pretzel salt


In large bowl, or bowl of standing mixer, combine the water and sugar. Stir and then sprinkle yeast on top. Allow yeast to sit on top of wet ingredients for five minutes, until it begins to foam. In large separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Once the mixture has foamed, add flour and butter to yeast-water mixture and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Turn the speed up to medium and allow dough to knead until it appears smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 4-5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and set on clean surface. Clean and dry bowl completely, cover inside of bowl with canola or vegetable oil. Return dough to oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave bowl to sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, this will take about an hour.

*Note: If not using stand mixer, combine ingredients completely using wooden spoon or hands. Remove dough from bowl and place on clean surface, knead dough with hands until dough is incorporated, smooth and soft to the touch, about 4-6 minutes. Return dough to oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size in warm place.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper, brush paper lightly with canola or vegetable oil. Set pan aside.

In large pan, such as a dutch oven, bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to rapid boil.

While you're waiting for the water to boil, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a large U-shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U, forming the shape of the pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet pan.

Once all your pretzels are ready, place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Place boiled pretzels on cookie sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture or butter and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Once done, transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

After the yeast has foamed (five minutes).

After the dough has been mixed and kneaded.

After the dough has risen (one hour).

After the dough has been cut into eight pieces, begin rolling out the ropes.

Forming ropes into the Pretzel shape.

They're ready for the bath.

After the Pretzels have been bathed, basted with butter and salted.

The final product. Enjoy!

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