Monday, March 4, 2019

How to Make Soft Pretzels | Perfect snack to enjoy with Homebrew

^Check out the video recipe guide!

I was inspired to make these soft pretzels after reading the experience another homebrewer had making them to enjoy with his beer. So I decided to try out the recipe for myself. (thanks to /u/kyrgyznomad and his reddit post for the inspiration)
The recipe linked in his post is adapted from the website Sally's Baking Addiction. You can visit her site by clicking the link there, but I've also posted the ingredients needed at the bottom of this post. These pretzels looked simple enough to make so I went for it. Let's get baking!

Soft Pretzels (Makes 12)

(Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)

For the Pretzels:
1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
2 1/4 Teaspoons of dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 Teaspoon of fine salt
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Melted Butter or Margarine
3 3/4 Cups of Flour
Sea Salt for sprinkling

For the Soda Bath:
1/4 Cup + 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
5 Cups of Water

Equipment needed:
Large mixing bowl
Baking trays
Cutting board (floured)
Slotted Spatula
Wooden Spoon
Measuring cups and spoons
Parchment paper
Saucepan for the baking soda bath

As with most bread recipes, first the yeast is activated. The warm water and yeast is mixed together in the mixing bowl and allowed to sit for a few minutes.
While waiting, I melted the butter in the microwave.
With the yeast activated, the brown sugar, salt, and the melted butter were added to the water and yeast mixture and stirred together.
Next the flour was stirred in. Sally's recipe calls to do this 1 cup at a time, which helps to keep the dough from becoming too tough if you add it all at once.
Once all the flour is mixed in, I usually give the dough a little once over to knead in as much of the flour as I can before letting it sit. The dough shouldn't be sticky at this point and slightly firm to the touch.
The dough is allowed to rise for at least 10 minutes. During this time, the oven can be preheated to 400F.
The baking sheets and baking soda bath can also be prepared. The baking sheets are lined with parchment paper.
Now to prepare the baking soda bath, I didn't have a pot big enough to do a full 9 cups of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda, so I used this small sauce pan to prepare a solution with half those quantities. That mixture will need to be brought to a boil, so I preheated it so it would stay warm while I was preparing the dough.

With the dough risen, I kneaded it on the floured cutting board. The dough is divided into three equal sections.
With one of the sections, that dough is rolled out into a long rope, and then divided in half. Each of those halves are rolled out further before being divided in half again; a total of 4 dough ropes.
Each of the ropes is rolled out and then shaped into the traditional pretzel knot.
With the baking soda bath at a boil, each pretzel is soaked in it for 20 – 30 seconds. Any longer than that and the pretzels will have off flavors after being baked. A slotted spatula makes it easy to remove the pretzels without bringing much of the caustic solution with the dough. The moisture is allowed to come off each pretzel before they are placed on the parchment paper lined baking trays.
After salting each unbaked pretzel, into the oven they go! After being baked for 10 - 15 minutes, they will emerge golden brown.
This recipe makes 12 pretzels so go ahead and pace yourself with all that dough. I did the three divided sections individually, as preparing the next four pretzels can be done while the first four are baking.
As you can see, these pretzels are delicious. I highly recommend making these. Next time I will make a cheese dipping sauce to go with them.

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