Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good Eats - Soft Pretzels

I have a bit of a secret. Although, if you are in my house from around 8 or 9pm it's really no secret. I have a bit of an fascination (borderline obsession) with late night Food Network shows.

I love them all, really I do! Ace of Cakes makes me smile, and Diners, Drive In's and Dives makes me excited to see some of my Pittsburgh favorites or Virginia places I used to go to as a kid. But nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, quite compares to my love for the most awesome show ever, Good Eats.

I mean really, it just doesn't get any better then Alton Brown (even when he's moonlighting on Iron Chef America, I have to watch). Nothing quite compares, what can I say. So the other night when the pretzel episode came on I knew that I wanted to try and make some yummy delicious homemade soft pretzels. And boy oh boy are they delicious and the kids just love this fun snack.

The genius of Alton Brown strikes again!

Good Eats Homemade Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups (add an extra 1/2 cup if you're in the higher elevations like I am)
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan (I used Pam, worked just fine)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Chele said...

I have to agree with you...food network at night ROCKS! I, myself, love watching Alton Brown. I can't wait to make and taste those pretzels! :-)

Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

Mmmm--love pretzels!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

I try to avoid cooking shows at night. We have a lot of good ones on our Chicago PBS station.
The pretzels look awesome, I can smell them from here, I think.
Nice blog!

ElegantSnobbery said...

Alton Brown is my favorite!! I swear, anyone who can devote a half hour to cooking oil or salt and pepper and actually have me flipping out with excitement (I don't even really love cooking) is a rock star, in my opinion.

Those pretzels look fab! My kids would love them... gonna make 'em!

AlyGatr said...

MMMMM soft pretzels. I think I could live off of them. I used to live and die by the Food Network, but...no more. I need to try that recipe!

Tammy said...

This looks like a "must try" recipe! Sooooo yummy!

Marjorie said...

I've been wanting to try that recipe. Those look yummy!

Nen said...

we love food network too! although alton brown drives me bonkers! LOL!! i like him on iron chef though!

is that pic the actual pretzels YOU made!!? they look awesome!!!

日月神教-任我行 said...