Sunday, July 15, 2012

Soft Pretzels (Part Two)

I've made another double-batch that I'm going to bring to the office tomorrow.
To make it more fun, I decided to make this retro looking tray for presentation:
All I did was take a cardboard box lid and taped red and white striped paper
(printed from a background image lifted off the internet) all around it.
Then I found some cute vintage soft pretzel signs on the internet and taped them over the top.
Added some parchment paper and then bagels (tomorrow I'll do this).
What do you think?

I'll take a picture with the pretzels in the tray tomorrow and post it.
Update!  Tomorrow is now today and here's how it looked with pretzels inside.
There was only 1/2 of one pretzel (?) remaining at the end of the day, so I guess you could say it was a success!

I use Food Network's Almost-Famous Soft Pretzel recipe, but I do change a few things so I'll give you my adapted recipe here.

Soft Pretzels
Makes 6-8
(I double the recipe to make 12-16 pretzels and then freeze them for snacks)

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1/3 cup baking soda

Warm the milk in a saucepan until it's about 110 degrees; pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Dice 2 tablespoons butter and soften; stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour and the kosher salt to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  I use the "bread proof" function on my oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes.) Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
I like this pretzel shape:
However, you could shape it any way you'd like.  Be creative.
Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Some topping ideas:  you could skip the kosher salt and sprinkle garlic, parmesan cheese, etc. on top before baking.  Besides mustard, these are good dipped in queso (melted cheese sauce).

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