Saturday, July 02, 2005

Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels(Adapted from CL)

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt

Water bath
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon kosher salt

After Baking
1 tablespoon melted butter

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, let stand for 5 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Add enough of remaining flour, a little at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes.

Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. While still warm, brush with melted butter. Move to a wire rack to cool.

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