Kelly the Culinarian: Stand Mixer Sunday: Soft pretzels

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stand Mixer Sunday: Soft pretzels

I tried soft pretzels once before I had the stand mixer with a little bit of success. However, the dough was hard to shape because the machine I had was unable to knead it appropriately. I'm happy to report more success with my stand mixer.

This time around, I used the stand mixer to create a smooth, non-sticky dough. A tip that I have this time around is not to store the pretzels in a plastic bags because the moisture will accumulate and make the pretzels really too chewy to eat the next day. Also, only finish the pretzels with salt shortly before serving, otherwise it will eat away at the bread and look very unattractive.

Here's the recipe taken from my previous post that I repeated with more success:

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active yeast
22 ounces flour (a little less than 4 1/2 cups)
2 ounces unsalted butter (half of a stick)
10 cups water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg beaten with about 1 tablespoon of water
Pretzel salt

First, put water, sugar and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer, then sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to sit until it foams. It will take three to five minutes, depending on how warm or drafty your kitchen is.

Then add the butter followed by the flour a half-cup at a time. Make sure you're using a bread hook attachment and mix on low until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Then kick it up to medium speed for a couple of minutes until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the bowl.
Then place in a greased bowl, cover it with cling wrap and allow to sit in a corner of your kitchen for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Heat your oven to 450 and prepare a couple of baking sheets lined with parchment or foil that you lightly oiled or sprayed with cooking oil. Mix the water and baking soda in a pan and place on the stove so you have a little assembly line going.

Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface (I just threw flour on my parents' lovely counter tops). Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Working with one section, form the dough into a rope about two feet long.

Make it into a "U" shape and pinch the opposite ends to form a classic pretzel shape.
Next, bring the water/soda combination to a boil on the stove and place each pretzels in one at a time for 30 seconds each, flipping halfway through so both sides get boiled. This isn't meant to cook the pretzels, just to change the surface chemistry so it will brown evenly. Brush with egg wash, which will help the salt stick and aid in browning.

After that, place four pretzels on each cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.


J & E said...

Hi Kelly!
Your mom told us about your blog and I have to tell you I will definitly be trying your pretzels this weekend! I have been using my Kitchenaid mixer every week to make homemade bread- so YEA!
Your hygienist- Heather

Unknown said...

Check your ingredient list...what the heck is the egg for?

KellytheCulinarian said...

For the egg wash, of course! You do it after the bath but before the oven to aid in browning and get the salt to stick.