Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pretzels

“Howdy folks!”  It is the well known greeting of Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas, an annual and favorite outing for Travis, Elizabeth and Andrew.  We ventured out and crammed in as many rides, games, and fried and sugary food as possible in a short timeframe (it's also great people watching, and boy, were there a lot of people (my favorite was a father feeding a morsel of pizza to his 4-month old - I checked and he probably should wait until at least 7-9 months).  When we returned home, David asked “how was it?”  My response: “I feel disgusting.  I need a pretzel to soak up all the fry and sugar.”

This is a fun recipe to make with the kids (just make sure there is a good hand washing before you do!)

Happy (early) birthday Mimi!

Ingredients  
Pretzels

  1. 1 1/2 C warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  2. 1 T sugar
  3. 2 t kosher salt
  4. 1 package active dry yeast
  5. 22 ozs all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  6. 2 ozs unsalted butter, melted
  7. Vegetable oil, for pan
  8. 10 C water
  9. 2/3 C baking soda
  10. 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T water
  11. Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface (or tape some wax paper on the countertop) and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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