Soft Pretzels

March 10, 2010

After seeing many soft pretzels postings on TasteSpotting lately, I decided to give it another try.  My skills with yeast have been improved since I discovered a trick to make my bread dough rise. In the past, I always had troubles making my bread dough doubled its size because it is always cold inside the house especially in the winter. The trick that I found is to turn on the oven at the lowest temperature for 5 mins or so and turn the oven off to create a warm cozy little place for our yeast friend. You can do that while you knead the dough. So, by the time you're done with kneading...the oven will be nice and warm (not too hot) for our yeast friend. Now, we have became good friends, and I never have troubles with the dough anymore. After searching for a good soft pretzel recipe, I ended up with this recipe. Most of the comments that people left are positive, so I have a good feeling that I'll end up good, delicious soft pretzels. The final result turned out pretty well.

Soft Pretzels
(Adapted from; 6 pretzels)

2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 C and 2 tbsp warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2-1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 C baking soda
2 C hot water
2 tbsp kosher salt, for topping
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 C warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 F. In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 2 cups of hot water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown.  

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