Saturday, May 31, 2008

THE OVER ACHIEVERS

Now that I am in Daring Bakers I just love it. With a few other people we are making up for lost time. We decided to go back and do the challenges we missed. Too funny. But I guess that is what I like about Daring Bakers. It's a group of people who so enjoy baking and creating things in their kitchens.

Collectively it was decided that Soft Pretzels would be the one we would pick. I am so glad because I am on sweets overload. I seriously need to start shipping these desserts out of my house. Immediately. I truly thought the pretzels would be a reprieve... ah no. I ate two right away and had a third one later. They are delicious. And so so easy!

HOT BUTTERED PRETZELS (Recipe available on King Arthur website. Click here)

Pretzels are available crisp and hard from your grocery or, if you're lucky and in the right place, soft and chewy from street vendors. Our recipe is for the soft, chewy kind.

Dough
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*

Topping
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

Food Processor Method: Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its two kneading cycles, then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.

Manual/Mixer Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel, as illustrated. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave. Yield: 8 pretzels.

Nutrition information per serving (1 pretzel, 85g): 171 cal, 4.7g fat, 4g protein, 27g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 12mg cholesterol, 444mg sodium, 63mg potassium, 43RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 66mg calcium, 44mg phosphorus. The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

7 comments:

April said...

Hey, I love the hearts!!

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

They look so beautiful! I used to work in a German bakery where we sold "brezels" which were basically the same as these soft prezels, and so delicious...I'm definitely going to have to make these at some stage :)

Kiandra said...

i love your hearts...these look sooo good! i had so much fun making mine...and of course eating them also!

i couldn't believe how easy they were to make and tasted so good...who would of thought that freshly baked pretzels would take less than 2 hours?

giz said...

You're killing me. After the 9 pages of instructions from the last one and the read and reread those instruction and now you're making up for lost time. Okay honey...I have a doctor for you...we need to talk.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Homemade pretzals...yummy!

Janet said...

Gorgeous!
That heart shape is really clever.

I like the title of overachievers, also!!

Christine said...

You are an overachiever!!! I so want to go back and do the past challenges I just can't find the time. BTW after my pathetic 3 hour shift of work today (Right??) heading to PO to mail starter out to you!

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