Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Making Pretzels (Successfully!)

We made whole wheat pretzels today, and we didn't catch the oven on fire - success! And a double success... both the girls loved the pretzels! Last year, neither of them really liked them much... too gummy for Cecilia, I think... but this time, they both ate a whole pretzel for an afternoon snack. Here's our recipe:

Whole Grain Pretzels
from the King Arthur Whole Grains cookbook

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup water, at room temp
1 T soft butter
1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp barley malt extract (syrup or dried) - I used molasses this time

Water bath
8 cups water (I used 10)
2 T baking soda

1 egg beaten w/ 1 T water and a pinch of salt
Kosher salt and/or seeds for topping

Mix the whole wheat flour w/ the cup of water and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in butter, bread flour, salt, yeast, and barley malt extract (I did this with the dough hook on my stand mixer). Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1.5 hrs.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets or line w/ parchment paper. Make the water bath by pouring the water in a wide pot and placing it over high heat to boil.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll into ropes about 1/2 inch thick (hard to get them this thin, in my experience). The cookbook suggests letting the ropes rest halfway through rolling, so maybe that would help... I didn't have time for that! Shape into pretzels.

When water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer and add the baking soda. Carefully drop the pretzels into the simmering water, cooking about three at a time. The pretzels will expand quickly and dramatically. let cook about a minute or two, then use a slotted spatula or spoon to transfer to the baking sheets.

Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt and/or seeds. Bake about 12-15 minutes until well-browned. Best when served warm.

Caroline helped me roll and shape them while Cecilia was napping... and then both girls sprinkled on coarse salt after the pretzels took their "bath" in boiling water before going into the oven.

Caroline wanted some of them to be shaped like fish... so here's the attempt at that.

And here's the attempt at the traditional shape. How does one roll pretzel dough out thin and long enough so that it can be made into the pretzel shape without looking like these do? Anyone know? The dough is so elastic that it gets to a point when I cannot make the ropes any thinner.

Yummy!! We will be making these again during Lent for sure!


Anonymous said...

I'd love the recipe. We had a great pretzel recipe when we were little, it didn't have to be boiled but they tasted just like the doughy pretzels. It was whole wheat too and they were eaier to shpae, wish I had that cookbook still!

Erin said...

Sure, I'll add the recipe to the post!