If you've spent any amount of time with us, you'll know that when we find a good recipe, we clutch to it, making it over and over until we're all sick of it, give it a rest for a while and then we remember how much we like it and do it all over again.
This week we found one of those recipes.Pearl requested that we make soft pretzels, so she found a recipe and we doubled it, knowing that 6 would not suffice the many mouths around here.
Growing up we all got to choose what my mom would make for our birthday dinners. I remember one year when I was probably about 13, I said almost in passing, not really believing it would happen, that I wanted those big, soft pretzels from the mall (half an hour away).
Come dinner time, my dad pulled up in the car with a big bag full of a soft pretzel in his arms for everyone. Everyone got their very own soft pretzel.
I was so excited to hold that paper pouch enveloped pretzel in my hand, and don't remember a single gift I received that year, or if any friends were there or not, but I do remember feeling pretty special that my parents would do that for me.
Sometimes it's more about what we do than what we give that makes memories memorable.
Back to the pretzels. We've made them 3 times already, experimenting with toppings, sauce, shapes and slightly adjusting the recipe.
The dough reminds me of a brioche dough--super supple.
Our first batch was pitiful, with our attempts at forming a rope to make the professional pretzel shape.
This is how it's done, in case you wondered.
We made garlic rub/cheese, cinnamon/sugar, and classic sea salt.Pearl made a sea turtle, a dog, a monkey, and a pig. Never know what's up her sleeve next.
Adapted from a Foodnetwork recipe
1 cup milk, warmed slightly
1 package yeast, or 1 scant Tablespoon
1 1/2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups water
flake or kosher sea salt
melted butter to brush tops
Warm the milk in a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; stir in brown sugar and 1 cup flour. Mix in butter. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes.) Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
The original recipe called for mayonnaise, but I can't stand the stuff, so I just cut it out and thought this was delicious, but I really like mustard. Other toppings were rubbed garlic, a bit of melted butter and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. We also did a mixture of melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon to the consistency of a paste and brushed that on top of the warm pretzels (omitting the salt on that one)
Some more notes: If you double this, doubling the yeast made the dough a bit too puffy. We cut it back by 1/2 Tablespoon. Also, there's no need to double the baking soda bath if you double the dough.
ps look at what a magic reader did to my photo of Olive. Magic fingers! Thanks, Kate!