Saturday, January 8, 2011

Soft Mall Pretzels

I found this recipe here and she has a wonderful tutorial to follow with pictures to go along with this recipe...!!!

Soft Mall Pretzels
1 packet active dry yeast (I use Red Star Quick Rise)
1 1/2 C hot (110-120 degrees) water
2 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1 C bread flour (important for light texture)
3 C all-purpose flour 2 C warm water
2T baking soda
1/4 C melted butter

coarse salt
garlic salt, parmesan cheese
cinnamon, sugar

Place brown sugar, yeast, and salt in your KitchenAid bowl.

Add hot water, stir gently to dissolve.

Using the dough hook attachment, add flour, 1 cup at a time, until it’s all incorporated.

Knead another 8-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth and elastic, not tacky.

Remove dough from hook & mixer. Round dough into ball, lightly spray or grease mixing pan, and place dough back into the pan.

I like to wet a kitchen towel with very hot water and cover the dough with it. Let it rise for about an hour. I’ve let mine go for three hours before and it was fine.

Remove dough from the pan onto a clean, dry hard work surface.

Cut dough into twelve approximately equal pieces. I start by cutting it in half…

…then quarters, and then each quarter into three pieces.

The pieces end up being about a perfect handful for me.

Your perfect handfuls can help you roll your dough out,too. Take each of the little dough balls and roll them out into 3 foot ropes. You might have to let the dough rest for a few minutes to get it rolled out long enough. I usually roll out all twelve, setting each aside while I do the others, then go back and roll them briefly once more to get them just a little thinner.

To roll, start in the middle with your fingers spread apart, applying downward pressure, and “rock” your wrists outward while you roll the dough back and forth. This stretches the dough while rolling it (careful…don’t stretch it too quickly or it’ll break!), making a nice long rope.

Once you’ve got them all rolled out, spray two parchment- or silicone-lined cookie sheets. This is important…Don’t forget to line and spray them or your pretzels will stick!

I did one of each just to test the difference. There was no difference. They both browned beautifully on the bottom.

Dissolve 2 T baking soda in 2 C hot water, and stir to incorporate.

Give each rope a quick dip in the soda bath before rolling them into pretzelsStart with a U shape:

Then cross one end over the other:
Give it a twist:
Then bring the ends down to lay on top of the dough on the curve.

Since I had helpers, this simple rolling technique was not nearly exciting enough. The kids wanted to have some fun with designs, and I couldn’t see a good reason not to let them. These pretzels are really forgiving. Don’t worry about too much bulk causing them to not cook thoroughly. They will. One day when I have a little more time on my hands, I’ll have the kids help me roll out several small, short ropes and make letter shapes out of them.

Once you’ve got all your pretzels rolled (or twirled, bent, whatever…), let them rise for about 15-20 minutes, then bake them at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

While the pretzels were baking, I threw together a couple of dipping sauces. I made one by cubing about 1 cup of Velveeta cheese and microwaving it with about 1 cup of salsa in about 1 minute intervals until I could stir it up into a creamy sauce. The other one I made with about 3 T of spicy brown mustard, about 1 T of honey, and about 1 tsp of cider vinegar. You can definitely modify these to your family’s flavor & texture preferences. We liked the spicy brown mustard sauce best. Next time, though, I want to try a sweet glaze or frosting to dip the cinnamon sugar ones in.

When the pretzels come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter and then sprinkle your topping(s) of choice on them.

We made traditional salted pretzels (just coarse salt on top of the butter), garlic & parmesan pretzels (sprinkle with garlic salt, then top with parmesan cheese), and cinnamon sugar pretzels (sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon followed by a generous coating of sugar). Next time, I’d like to try sprinkling some powdered ranch salad dressing mix to make the ranch pretzel.

For the record, they taste every bit as good as (Pretzelmaker/Pretzel Time/Aunt Annie)’s soft “mall pretzels”. So much so, that I may never have to set foot in the mall ever again.

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