Monday, March 09, 2009

Making Pretzels

I have never made homemade soft pretzels before, so I thought we'd give it a whirl using the recipe for whole wheat pretzels from my King Arthur Flour whole grain cookbook. Pretzels are a traditional Lenten food because it used to be that people abstained from milk, butter, and eggs during Lent, none of which are needed to make pretzels. Now, this particular recipe did call for a tablespoon of butter and an egg wash... so, not exactly accurate on my part...

Here's an action shot of my mixer working on the dough. Cecilia likes to watch the mixer work... I guess it does look pretty neat when I stop to think about it.

Here's how the pretzel dough looks when it is completely mixed, all nice and smooth. Next, it went into the oven with the light turned on to rise for nearly two hours.

Here's Caroline helping to form the pretzels. The dough was really tough to work with - it was hard to roll it out into a long strip because it was of an odd consistency that didn't really want to stretch out very long. Caroline made "snakes" - a mommy snake, two kid snakes (one a nursing baby snake - I didn't bother trying to explain that I don't think snakes nurse ;), and then a daddy snake. We also made a fish shape and the letter C in addition to the regular pretzel shapes.

Here they are, cooking in the oven before it caught fire. Yes, you read that correctly: the oven caught fire. There was sweet potato goo on the bottom of the oven that had dripped down the last time we baked them, and that caught on fire since the oven was so hot (450 degrees). There was plenty of smoke, Caroline was despairing that her snakes were ruined, and I was a little frantic because of the unexpectedness of the situation. The fire burned itself out and the pretzels were removed from the oven... they were pretty ashy, so they were a lost cause.

But did that stop us?? No! I made the dough recipe again the next morning, and Caroline and I yet again made pretzels and then baked them in the (now clean) oven - thanks, hubby! They were nice and warm for lunch.

And Caroline didn't even eat her entire pretzel for lunch, nor has she asked for another one as a snack, and it has been five days ago that we made these... and Cecilia chewed up a few pieces of pretzel and promptly spit them out after they got to a gummy consistency. She sure ate plenty of the raw dough beforehand, so I don't know why she didn't like them baked! Oh well, I have been enjoying them, and the process of making them is what will be memorable for Caroline.


bakers said...

Glad to see that a little kitchen excitement didn't scare off your pretzel team from giving these a second try. Thanks for keeping our flour in your pantry. Frank from KAF, baker/blogger.

sara said...

i love the nursing baby snake!! that is awesome!

mel said...

I made these too, and was irritated that they came out looking like giant knots instead of like mall They were good though!