Monday, April 11, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Pretzel - Part 1

It has been a crazy couple of weeks coupled with some tech issues, so I apologize for not posting anything recently...

I'm starting my search for the perfect soft pretzel!! I have chosen three bread machine recipes that I will be making over six weeks. I will share each recipe and I will also let you know which recipe won the title of "Perfect Pretzel." 

Recipe 1 comes from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tsps salt
  • 2-1/2 tsps brown sugar
  • 2 cups + 6 tbls bread flour
  • 2 tsps yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbls baking soda

Place the water, salt, brown sugar, bread flour and yeast (do not add the second amount of water or the baking soda) in the bread pan. Use the pizza dough function and select the small loft size.
When cycle is completed, remove the dough from machine and transfer to a floured surface. Divide dough into equal pieces. 
Roll each ball into a thin rope. I found the easiest way to do this was to roll the dough between your hands. Twist dough into a pretzel shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic and allow pretzels to rest for about 20-30 minutes. 

Place 2 inches of water in a wide 5 1/2 quart saute pan and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 cups of water and baking soda in a small bowl, stir and reserve.
 Once pretzels have rested and water comes to a boil, carefully slide pretzels into the boiling water one at a time, flipping each after 1 1/2 minutes. Boil for 3 minutes total. Allow pretzels to drain on a cooling rack. Dip each pretzel into the stirred baking soda solution and place back on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with toppings. 
For toppings, I did 4 pretzels with coarse salt, 2 pretzels with garlic powder and shredded mozzarella and 2 pretzels plain that I dipped in butter then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. 
 Bake in oven until dark and golden, about 15-20 minutes. When finished cool on wire rack. 

These pretzels were really good! Not as good as the ones from the mall but pretty close. My fav was the cheese pretzel dipped in marina. 
I put the plain ones straight in the toaster to re-heat them before brushing them with and sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar. 

The next pretzel recipe I will be trying is a "Almost-famous" recipe from the Food Network website so stay tuned!

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