Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mall-style pretzels

My boyfriend Brandon and I have a shopping deal.  He will go shopping with me as long as I buy him an Auntie Anne's pretzel. Last weekend, we designated Saturday as a cooking day.  We made all kinds of healthy food (more on that to come), in addition to pretzels for Brandon.  The first step was to make dough.  We made a pretty standard dough, from flour, sugar, brown sugar, yeast, and water.  He kneaded it for about ten minutes, and then we let it rise for an hour.

Once the dough had sufficiently risen, we rolled it out into long skinny ropes.  The ropes were supposed to be pencil thin, but ours were more like thick crayons. Each pretzel required a three foot long piece of dough.  With the leftovers, we made nuggets, which were each two to three inches long.

After the dough was rolled out, we twisted the dough into pretzel shapes.  Before they could go into the oven, we dipped them into water, which had some baking soda dissolved into it.  I'm not quite sure why the recipe called for this step.  It may be to help the pretzels brown, but ours did not brown especially well. It may work better to brush the pretzels with egg white or butter before putting them into the oven.

Finally, we baked the pretzels on a tray sprayed with non-stick spray (important, we learned) for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

When the pretzels came out of the oven, we brushed them with butter and then sprinkled with salt.  The best pretzels always have big chunks of salt, so we scoured the grocery store--two actually, whole foods and giant--for coarse kosher salt. Alternatively, you could sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, or whatever other flavor combination your heart desires.  I recommend eating these immediately, because they do not keep well, but are quite tasty fresh!

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