Monday, February 25, 2013

Doughy Deliciousness

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WARNING: These pretzels are really simple to make and crazy-addicting!  Maybe that's just me...(as I munch my way through my second one).

This morning I was in a bread-baking mood and was trying to decide if I wanted to bake something practical and useful like these tasty brioche sandwich rolls or something more fun and snacky like soft pretzels.  It should come as no surprise that I picked the pretzels.

The original recipe is a copycat one of Auntie Anne's pretzels I got from a Food Network magazine, but I tweaked it a little.  If you want the original, click here.  Otherwise, my version is below.

Absolutely Addicting Soft Pretzels

- 1 cup milk (I used skim, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2-4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/3 cup baking soda

1. Warm the milk in the microwave until it is roughly 110 degrees.  For me, this took about 2 and a half minutes.  Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle in the yeast.  Let sit for 2 minutes, then add in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour.  Let sit for another 2 minutes.

2. Add in the remaining 2 and 1/4 cups of flour and 2 tsp. of salt.  Using the hook attachment in your mixer, knead for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together and is soft, but still slightly sticky.

3. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven til 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet (I used a stone one).  Divide the dough into equal pieces.  It really depends on how big you want your pretzels.  I divided mine into 8 pieces and they made medium-sized pretzels, but you could easily make mini ones or gigantic ones too!

5. Roll and stretch each piece into a "rope" and form each rope into a pretzel shape.

6. Dissolve the baking soda into about 2 cups of water in a shallow pan (I used a pie plate) and gently dip each pretzel in the solution before placing on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. kosher salt and bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

7.  Remove from the oven and brush with 2 tbsp. melted butter and let cool slightly before gobbling up!

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