Kate's Cuisine

Jan 27 2014

Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

I just love soft pretzels. I typically reserve them for hockey games, when you get them out of that warming stand piping hot, and dunk them in mustard until it’s falling down onto your fingers. But now that I no longer live just down the road from the arena, my craving has gone unfulfilled. Until now, anyway.

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees, just above body temp.)
1 tablespoon sugar $0.01
2 teaspoons salt $0.02
1 package dry active yeast $0.33
4 – 5 cups all-purpose flour $0.70
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled $0.24
10 cups water, for boiling
2/3 cup baking soda $0.52
1 egg yolk $0.20
1 tablespoon water
Coarse salt

Total cost $2.02
Cost per serving $0.25

1.) Combine the egg yolk with the one tablespoon of water and beat lightly.

2.) Combine the water and sugar in a very large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for about five minutes, until the yeast starts to foam. Then add four cups of the flour, the cooled melted butter, and the salt. Mix slowly, allowing all the ingredients to incorporate with each other. Then, begin to beat the mixture in the bowl with a wooden spoon by mixing very quickly and really working the dough. Do this for four or five minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to, add more flour to make it smooth and firm, adding only half a cup of flour at a time. (You can also do this in a stand mixer, but until I can save up enough for one, I get my bicep workout in while I do this step.)

3.) Place a small amount of vegetable oil in a separate, larger bowl, and then place in the dough. Turn to completely cover it in oil, cover with plastic wrap, and then allow it to sit in a warm spot for 50 to 55 minutes, until it has doubled in size.

4.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

5.) Combine the baking soda with the ten cups of water and bring to a rolling boil.

6.) While the water is coming to a boil, turn out the dough onto a work surface that’s been lightly dusted with flour. Roll out each piece of dough into a rope that’s 15 – 20 inches long. Be sure to make the ropes the same length so the pretzels are the same size when you cook them.

7.) One by one, make a U-shape with the ropes. Take the top of one, and bend into a loop, placing it at the bottom corner of the same side, pressing slightly so that the dough stays in place. Then, with the other end of the U-shape, place it through the loop you’ve made on the other side, and then over to the other side of the dough (now the two loops should be connected in teh middle of the pretzel.) Once again, press the other side down lightly so it will stay in place. As each pretzel is finished being shaped, place it onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

8.) When the water is boiling, gently drop the pretzels in one by one, and allow it to boil for about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon or a large spider to remove them from the water, and place back on the baking sheet. Allow to air dry for just a minute before brushing the top of each pretzel with the egg yolk/water mixture, and sprinkle on the coarse salt.

9.) When all pretzels are boiled and brushed with the egg wash, place into the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp on top.

10.) Remove from the oven and allow them to rest for at least five minutes before serving.

11.) Serve and enjoy!

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