Monday, December 7, 2009

Soft Pretzels

I love to bake bread. It all started with a batch of ciabatta that could be made in the kitchenaid, with no need for kneading by hand or anything like that. It was delicious. And easy, which was a major plus as I am kind of lazy. That night I looked through all my cookbooks and read the chapters on bread that I had previously dismissed as not having anything I would want to make in them. I turned into a bit of a bread baking fanatic after that, making bagels and pastries and rolls and brown bread and focaccia and more. I turned into one of those people. You know, the people who whip up a batch of danishes from scratch and then insist that it was actually not that hard. I always thought they were either insane or liars. Now I am the one pulling danishes out of the oven and protesting that it really wasn’t that difficult. These soft pretzels are truly not that hard to make, and they taste really good, not quite like Auntie Anne’s but then again I don’t dip them in melted butter right after I take them out of the oven either (which is an option, if you are feeling decadent and are fond of butter). I use Alton Brown's recipe which can be found here.

Basically you mix everything in the KitchenAid.

Then let it rise, going from this...

... to this

After that divide the dough into 8 (or 10) equal parts. Take each blob of dough and roll it into a ridiculously long snake and twist it into a pretzel shape.

Give each one its own baking soda bath, then an egg wash and a sprinkle of salt. Then they are ready for the oven.

(Note my loyal sidekick Hazelnut, always underfoot in the kitchen...

....unless there is an open dryer...

.....or recliner)

But back to the pretzels, bake them for about 12 min, until they are nice and brown and crusty on the outside but still soft and chewy inside.

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