Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pretzels

One of Reid and my indulgences is Auntie Anne's pretzels.  That buttery crust with flecks of salt is the perfect companion to our outlet shopping days or traveling through the airport.  Last week when we were coming back from Cancun, we literally followed the smell of the pretzels to grab a quick 'sninner' (snack-dinner) during our layover.  It's always fun to watch the workers twirl the pretzel into the pretzel shapes, too!  Since pretzels are basically fat covered carbs, I thought I'd try to make it at home and see if I could re-create the deliciousness without quite as much caloric guilt.  I had the intention using water to get the salt to stick but-Surprise! Butter does make everything better! At least we didn't accompany these with the 360 calorie lemonades we usually get at Auntie Anne's...

Copy-cat Pretzels

Ingredients
  • 1 c. bread flour
  • 3 c. all purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour), , plus more for kneading
  • 1 pkg (1 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2c. plus 2 c. water
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. baking soda
  • optional toppings: melted butter and sea salt; melted butter and cinnamon and sugar; water and salt
Directions
  1. Proof the yeast by combining 1&1/2 c. lukewarm water and yeast according to package directions.  Add brown sugar.  Let set until foamy, then add salt and flour.
  2. Knead on floured surface until nice and elastic.  Dough should be smooth but slightly tacky.
  3. Let rest for 1 hour (or about doubled in size) in a bowl covered with a dishtowel
  4. Prepare a water bath by mixing baking soda and 2 c. water into a shallow bowl
  5. Punch the dough down and divide into 6 equal pieces
  6. Roll and stretch out a piece into a long rope, about 30" in length
  7. Shape into a pretzel by forming a loop, twisting ends, then bringing ends back over the loop.  This is where watching the Auntie Anne's workers do this and lots of pictures help!
  8. Dip the pretzel in the water bath and place on parchment-lined baking sheet
  9. Repeat with all 6 pieces.  Allow to rise again for about 5 minutes
  10. Bake at 450*C for 10 minutes or until golden
  11. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle on course salt

I actually made a double batch and froze a few pretzels without butter and sugar.  They've rewarmed beautifully in the toaster oven (then I add the butter and salt).  Yummmmmmmmmm!


Recipe inspired by Food.com and Food Network



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