Saturday, July 30, 2011

Twist it like the Amish! Pretzels baby!!!

So I have dabbled in the idea that I would one day like to be a bread master at home. I think it is an old tradition with amazing patience and skill. The idea of creating something that might take you all day and at the end bake and maybe lather in butter seems like a good goal for any food lover.

Well as of today no age old skills have been pressed upon me so I do what I know and hopefully grow closer to being a white haired old lady bringing loaves of bread to my children and sick neighbors. Again, this is my fantasy, pretty wild right!  I also have wanted to include my kids into baking and really showing them how good things take time and patience.
We saw a CBS Sunday morning special on the beginnings of pretzels a while ago and I began to relish in the fact that they have immense patience to do this technique and I wanted every part of it. Since my kids love soft pretzels it was easy to get them to buy in.

In my search for a great recipe I came across a great bread blog called The Fresh Loaf and he had a recipe adapted from Alton Brown from the food network. It looked easy enough and it sure is! We have been making these pretzels it seems every other week. When father's Day was here we also made them and served them with good old yellow mustard. The part of the TV special that stood out for me was why the Amish twisted the pretzels the way they did.  To summarize I believe they said to teach the children of God's love, The twist looks like two arms wrapping around someone. How awesome is that!

This is the CBS link for the show, I think it's fun for kids, and adults! 


For The love of Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt or Kosher salt for the top of pretzels

This recipe is created for a Kitchen Aide mixer, if you don't have one, get one, or beg your family to use theirs!

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.  
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. I used a heavy spray of Pam since I ran out of parchment paper. 
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.
 In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan. we have also just cut them up in pieces for little bits, if you don't have time to twist.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Recipe from Alton Brown and adapted and loved by my family! 


Take your time and enjoy what your hands have made and remember to slow down and have a little patience. 
God Speed!
 

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