Seriously, I have a weakness for bread!
A few weeks ago, we checked out Trader Joe's
I know, I know, what in heaven's name took us so long!
Anyway, we purchased a few things to try, that we have never tried before.
Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus
(neither of us had tasted any type of hummus before)
Mini Chicken Tacos
Guacamole with Salsa
(just something different and SPIC-AY)
Indian Garlic Naan
(yes, we have had naan, but it was fresh at a restraunt)
Mango Green Tea
Okay, I have had soft pretzels before, but this was so much different. It was fantastic!
So fantastic in fact, that I just HAD to make some at home.
I've made soft pretzels before, which were "eh", but this was something I wanted my family to go "WOW" over. So, I found a recipe and went at it!
I must say, it really turned out fabulous!
I will definitely be making it again, only next time in large sandwich sized loaves to make yummy sandwiches with!
Mmm... Mmm... Good!
You wanna make some too?
Here ya go!
1 packet active dry yeast or 2 tsp.
2 cups warm (110F) water
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 tsp salt
4 - 4.5 cups bread flour
3 tbsp baking soda
Combine warm water, brown sugar, and honey in mixing bowl and stir. Add the yeast carefully to avoid clumps. Stir again and let mixture stand until the surface of the water starts to turn light brown as the yeast begins to foam (it should only take a few minutes).
While the yeast has started to foam, melt the butter and then add the milk to the butter. Add the salt and butter/milk mixture to the yeast mixture and stir well.
Butter a sides and bottom of a large bowl and set it aside for later. Be sure the bowl is big enough to hold the dough after doubling.
Measure out two cups of flour and add to the yeast mixture. If you have a large mixer with a dough hook, let it do most of the work at this point. Otherwise, grab a rubber spatula and get ready to use a little "elbow grease." Once the dough forms a wet mess, continue adding the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball and begins pulling from the sides of the mixing bowl, but still a little sticky.
Now turn it out onto a clean floured surface. Knead the dough by folding it over in different directions until it gets sticky again, then sprinkle a little more flour on it. Knead until the dough is smooth and just slightly sticky (it should form a solid ball).
All of the hard work is done once the dough is kneaded. Now take the smooth ball of dough and place it in the buttered bowl from earlier and rotate the dough ball until all sides are also buttered (if needed, butter your hands and rotate the dough through your hands).
Cover the dough with either plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set it somewhere it will stay warm (if it is cold in the house it will not rise sufficiently). After an hour, check on the dough to be sure that the dough is rising. It will take a little more than an hour for the dough to double, since this particular bread does not have a lot of yeast in it.
Once the yeast/dough has nearly doubled, get a wide pot of water on the stove and add the baking soda. More soda will add a stronger pretzel flavor. You can also add honey to the water to sweeten the crust slightly. Let the water come to a boil while getting the dough ready.
Uncover the dough and punch it down. If the dough is sticky, sprinkle a little flour over the top and around the sides. Peel the dough out onto a floured surface. Separate the dough and shape it into the size of loaves that you want (keeping in mind that you need to boil the loaves, so they need to fit easily into the pot and be easily removed). Smaller loaves are easier to handle.
Once loaves are shaped, cover lightly with a damp cloth/towel to rise while the water comes to a boil.
Once water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop the loaves (one at a time) into the water. The loaves should float if the water is hot enough, if the water is not hot enough, the loaves will sink to the bottom and burn, making a yucky mess. **If the water foams up, turn it down to medium high so that is still boiling, but not too hot.** Boil each loaf for 30 seconds on each side. Then remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet. Sprinkle the loaves with kosher salt to taste. Using a very sharp knife, score the tops of each loaf, making an "X" for large round loaves or three evenly spaced lines for oblong loaves.
After the oven is up to temperature (450F), set the loaves in the top 1/2 to 1/3 of the oven. Let them bake for 10 minutes at 450F, turn the loaves and bake for 10 more minutes at 400F. When done, the loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the top. Once the loaves are out of the oven brush the tops with melted butter to give it a softer, chewier crust
*Keep in mind, baking times may vary depending on your oven.*
**Pretzel bread is not quite as simple as a flat bread or dinner rolls, but the loaves come out of the oven with a deep, brown pretzel crust and slightly sweet, tender center. This particular recipe should be treated as a base to which other ingredients may be added. Cinnamon and extra brown sugar can creat a sweet pretzel, or garlic and other spices can creat a more savory pretzel.**