October 13, 2009

Part of the original attraction of doing this blog was because I wanted to use it as a reflective piece to look at why I baked certain things because often times I will bake because I am personally feeling something and the baking makes me feel better. So I thought the best entry for me to blog about this time was something that I did make to make feel better.

I was having an odd day that day, a day where I had such an urge to do something but anything I thought of doing just was not cutting it! I didn’t want to do any of the things I could think of, nor any of the things the Husband suggested. I was pacing the house going a little stir crazy. It was getting increasingly hard to concentrate, and I was beginning to get a little cranky, which considering the Husband was studying for an exam was not good.

Finally, I sighed and headed to the kitchen. I didn’t actually feel like making anything, but I knew that when I did it usually made me feel better. So I chose this pretzel recipe. It was a bit of a cop-out using the bread machine, but I did this mostly because of the aforementioned lack of desire to do anything but wanting to do something! The laziness of it appealed to me, and anyway I knew once the bread machine cycle was done my hands would get dirty so to speak!

I played with the recipe ever so slightly – well ok I just omitted the butter right at the end, I’m not personally a huge fan of things covered in butter. Plus most importantly I actually had a friend in mind for these pretzels and whilst she’s probably a huge fan of butter on her pretzels she is also attempting to lose weight and was far happier to receive these sans butter. And you’ll have to excuse the photo…I failed dismally to shoot correctly when I was munching away on one!

Hot Pretzels
2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
7/8 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its two kneading cycles, and then cancel the machine, flour the dough. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 260C. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn’t, it’ll make your pretzels splotchy.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown colour), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave. Yield: 8 pretzels

Recipe adapted from King Arthur.


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