I like making bread. It's like tiny at-home science experiments. Cultivating sourdough has become a hobby of mine, and I love trying to generate different flavors from my starters.
My roommate is enamored with the fact that there is fresh baked bread all the time. SO MUCH, that she recenltly brought home a 50 pound bag of flour to further my research....
Here is the recipe I will be using
2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Step 1: Proof Yeast.
To proof yeast, sprinkle the yeast over your warm water in the bowl of the mixer. Give it a quick swirl and walk away for 10 minutes. When you check on it, it should look foamy/frothy, if it doesn't your water was too hot, or your yeast has expired.
Step 2: Dry Ingredients.
With the dough hook on the mixer, I added the flour, salt and sugar. Slowly add the dry ingredients so that they don't fly out of the mixer. Once all of the ingredients are integrated, knead on medium-low for five minutes.
Step 3: Proof Dough.
Once the dough was smooth, I floured a cutting board, and rolled my dough ball around on it. To proof the dough, I put it in a bag, and allowed it to sit for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, the dough should be at least double in size.
Step 4: Baking Soda Coating
To make the baking soda coating, I mixed a cup of boiling water with 2 tbs of baking soda. Mix completely, then let it cool down in the sauce pan.
Alton Brown has a great explanation as to why pretzels need a baking soda bath.
This is probably a good time to start pre-heating the oven to 475.
Step 5: Cut the Dough
I took the dough out of the bag, and set it on a greased cookie-sheet. Then, I cut it into eight equal pieces (ish). After you cut the dough, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. It should puff up a bit during its 10 minute rest.
Step 6: Make the Pretzel.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin tendril (about the length of the cookie sheet). Then soak the pretzels, 4 at a time, in the baking soda bath. Swril them around in there for a few minutes, then pull them out an let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes. Sprinkle the tops of the pretzels with salt, and bake them.
Step 7: Baking and BUTTER!
After the pretzels were salted I baked them for 10 minutes, until they were golden brown, pretzelish colored. While the pretzels are in the oven, melt three tbs butter and stage a brush for when they come out of the oven.
When the pretzels come out of the oven, immediately brush on the melted butter. The pretzels should drink up the butter.
Remove them from the pan and let them cool. They go fast, so I hope you get to try one before they dissappear!