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It’s No Pretzel From a Shopping Cart, But they are Close – Homemade Pretzel Bites

One of my favorite snacks since I was a kid has always been the hot pretzels we used to get of the streets of New York City or when we went to the ballpark. I can remember going to Shea Stadium and getting a hot pretzel that was made over hot coals in the shopping cart from one of the vendors outside of the stadium. Sure they were a little bit burnt but the smell and the flavor is something that stayed with me and I really enjoyed it. I have made pretzels at home before and while they have not been able to replicate that shopping cart experience, they have been pretty good. With the Super Bowl this past weekend, I was looking for a snack that we could make that would go well with the game and I came across this recipe at King Arthur Flour for a very simple pretzel bite that takes no time at all to put together. I actually did most of the work in my new bread machine, which I will write more about tomorrow and in the coming days with recipes that I have tried in there.

 

Homemade Pretzel Bites

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

7/8 to 1 cup warm water

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons baking soda

Coarse, kosher or pretzel salt

6 tablespoons butter, melted

To make the dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place the all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast and warm water into a bowl, and beat until the ingredients are well combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough in place it in a bag and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

To make the dough with a bread machine, place the all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and warm water into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for a basic dough and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (there is no need to allow the dough to rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above, for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the topping. Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the baking soda is totally or almost totally dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool until it is lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray, or by lining the pan with parchment paper.

Transfer the pretzel dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Roll the 6 pieces of dough into 12 inch to 15 inch long ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces. Pour the cooled baking soda solution into a pan large enough to hold the pretzel bite dough pieces. Place the bites into the solution, gently swish them around, and leave them there for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the bites to the greased or parchment lined baking sheet, and topped them with pretzel salt, coarse salt or kosher salt. Bake the bites in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove the bites from the oven, and roll them in melted butter. Place the pretzel bites on a rack to cool slightly. If you are not going to eat them immediately store them in an airtight container until you are ready to serve them.

 

The process was really easy using the bread machine, but it does not seem like it would be much harder if you did this by hand or with a mixer. The pretzels turned out perfectly with a really nice chew to them and they had that golden crunchy outside that you like to have in a pretzel. You could easily leave off the salt if you did not want them salted or substitute something like cinnamon-sugar or just plain sugar if you prefer to have a sweeter pretzel. The total time did not take that long, only a little bit more than an hour or so, so you can put these together for just about any type of occasion, party, buffet or snack that you might feel like having. I know I will be making them again pretty soon.

 

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, and enjoy your meal!

pretzelbites

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Breads, Cooking, Picnic Fare, Snacks

 

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A Ballpark Treat at Home – Homemade Soft Pretzels

Sean has been asking me to try to make my own pretzels for a while now. I had seen a bunch of recipes and I was always a little reluctant to try it. A lot of them seemed pretty time-consuming and called for a lot of space for rolling out dough, which I do not have. I finally came across one recipe that seemed easy enough to try. This one is from Chuck Hughes on the Cooking Channel and also includes a recipe for a cheese sauce. I personally didn’t make the cheese sauce, but I’ll include it here if you want something to go along with the pretzels.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons dry active yeast

3 cups flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons melted butter

Vegetable oil

2/3 cup baking soda

2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Coarse salt

Cheese Sauce:

1 bottle beer

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup cream cheese, diced and softened

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeno, minced

Salt and pepper

Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the dry yeast on the top. Let the mixture sit until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and butter. Using the dough hook attachment for the mixer, mix on low-speed until everything is well combined. Change the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. You can also knead the dough by hand.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil the bowl with the vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, toss the dough so it gets oiled, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to sit in a warm location until the dough has doubled in size, approximately one hour.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lightly brush the parchment with vegetable oil. Set the tray aside.

When the dough is ready, lightly flour your working surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U shape with the rope and, holding the two ends, cross them over each other and  press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place the pretzels on the baking tray and leave it at room temperature for 1 hour. This helps to dry out the surface of the pretzels and makes them easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In an 8-quart saucepan, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Lower the heat and slowly begin to add the baking soda to prevent overflowing. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pretzels, one at a time, to the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the pretzels from the water using a large flat spatula or a spider and put them back on the tray. Repeat the process with the remaining pretzels. The boiling will help to create a shiny, brown crunchy pretzel shell.

Beat the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the top of each pretzel. Sprinkle he pretzels with coarse salt. Bake the pretzels until they are a dark, golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

For the cheese sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, bring the beer to a simmer. In a separate bowl, mix the Cheddar cheese and the cream cheese with the flour. Add the cheese mixture to the beer with the remaining ingredients. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the texture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Keep the sauce warm until you are serving.

I have to say the pretzels took a little bit of extra work, but they were worth it. The first batch I tried I had the water too warm, killed the yeast, and had to start over. The second batch I ended up having to add more flour to, about 2/3 of a cup, to get a dough that held together well. Once I did that, everything else went along according to the recipe. The pretzels came out great with a really good flavor that we all enjoyed. The recipe only makes 8 pretzels, so if you were planning for a party, you might have to double the recipe. As for the cheese sauce, I didn’t make it myself but it would seem to me that it would be a good sauce to use not just for pretzels, but for vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, for tacos, nachos or any other time you want a cheese sauce. You could also use other things instead of salt to cover the pretzels, like a  cinnamon sugar, or some Parmesan cheese if you desire.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I’ll be trying out some new slow cooker recipes this week, so keep an eye out for those. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Cooking, Sauce, Snacks

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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