Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pretzel Loops

A recent trip to the local used bookstore and not a single copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice or Artisan Breads Every Day to be found. No big deal though because I was able to find another book about making bread at home that contains over one hundred different recipes from all around the world. I can't wait to get started in that book!

But in the meantime, I made some delicious, traditional pretzels, in a not-so-traditional shape. And I probably spent a good half hour trying to come up with a decent name for them.

The most enjoyable part about making these was shaping the loops. It's done by simply creating a long rope of dough, folding it in half, twisting it in the air, and pinching the two ends together. As you can see, mine turned out great!

I was a bit torn on which toppings to use, so I decided to use sesame seeds on a few and sea salt on the rest of them. In the end, while the sesame seeds made the pretzels look awesome, they didn't add much to the flavor. I'll be sticking to a coarse sea salt in the future!

Pretzel Loops
(yields 8 pretzels)

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup + 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp baking soda
vegetable oil for coating
coarse sea salt, optional
sesame seeds, optional

In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of warm water, the yeast, and the sugar. Let it rest for about 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the salt to the yeast mixture and mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until the dough is soft but no longer sticky, using additional flour if needed. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let the dough rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a rope shape, about 2 feet long. Fold the rope in half and twist it, bring the ends together and pinch them to connect the rope. In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda and microwave it for one minute. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda water on both sides and place on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and/or sesame seeds. Let the pretzels rest for 10 minutes. Bake the pretzels for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.


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