Soft Pretzels

pretzel

 

 

So we had a team meeting last week and everyone started talking about the Red Sox opening game, however I was more concerned with jeans day at work. I am a Bostonian who does not follow sports, and I am not ashamed. However, I do love the food that comes along with sports! Soft pretzels and cotton candy? They are kind of my love.

Anyways, after disappointing my colleagues with my little knowledge of baseball, the conversation turned to pretzels…and that my friends is where I redeemed myself. I will make pretzels on Monday for everyone! YAY! Melissa is no longer a disappointment and I can now be accepted due to my love of baking.

While many people find yeast doughs to be scary, I can assure you it is completely fine and the pretzel is actually a fascinating treat in baking history. My favorite pretzel story would have to be the bakers of Vienna who reclaimed their base, tore down the enemy’s flag, and raised their own…inspiring the home forces to rally and save their city. The emperor was impressed by  their bravery and gave the bakers a royal coat of arms of their own, which incorporated the pretzel.

I think I may write to Valve and ask them to include a baker’s hat in TF2…

This recipe has been adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef

Anyways…

Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water ( 110-115°F)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optionanal)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beat
  • coarse salt
  • Baking Soda solution (to follow) for boiling the pretzels

Directions

1. Mix the sugar, yeast and water and let stand for 5-10 minutes.

  • Make sure this solution becomes frothy, if not try again because your dough won’t rise

2. Mix together to flour, salt and caraway seeds

  • Stir the yeast mixture into the flour with until combined  and then knead dough for about 10 minutes

3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes

4. Split dough into 8-10 pieces and then roll out into 20″-24″ strings

5. Twist the dough into a pretzel shape and let sit for 2 minutes before slightly stretching dough

6. Create Baking Soda Solution

  • ~2 quarts boiling water, 3 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon salt

7. Boil pretzels, no more than 3 at a time, in the solution for about 3-5 minutes, until slightly browned and preheat oven to 425°F

8. Put several small cuts on each pretzel and lightly brush with the egg

  • Bake for 35 minutes
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Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

cinnamon sugar pull apart bread

Every Monday I walk into work with a treat for my co-workers, and since they shouldn’t have sweets too early in the morning, I usually have to stock the items at my desk until lunch time. But man…the anticipation… IT BUILDS!

So I decided that this Monday, I would bake something I could share ASAP…a breakfast delight 🙂 But then what do I make? Who else would I go to for answers than Joy the Baker? And oh did she deliver with this recipe for cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread!!

So I decided to give it a go, and throw away my fear of yeast! And let me tell you, this batch delivered! It delivered so well, that it unfortunately didn’t make it to work…sorry guys 😦

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

Yields about 1 9 inch loaf

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoon butter

Directions

Dough

1. In a bowl for your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, mix together the active dry yeast, sugar, salt, and flour

  • The active dry yeast should activate when you add the milk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients. However, this isn’t always the case since the temperature of the milk can drop quickly. I usually like to activate the yeast before hand because I don’t always trust myself. You can do this by mixing 3 tablespoons of hot water to the yeast, dissolving it and then letting it sit for about 10 minutes before continuing

2.  Place the milk and butter in a medium sized saucepan and  heating it over medium low heat until the butter is melted

3. Add  the milk mixture, water, vanilla and eggs to the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.

4.Once combined remove bowl from mixer and start to knead the dough, it should be somewhat sticky

  • Continue to knead and adding more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time to the dough, until the dough is not sticky

5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough

  • Cover and let stand in a warm place to rise for 1 hour

6. Now to make the filling while you wait. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the filling in a medium sized bowl

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan,  heat the butter until browned

7. Roll dough into a ball and cover for 5 minutes

8. Roll dough out into a rectangular shape that is 12″x 20″

  • Brush with butter
  • Sprinkle all of the sugar mixture over the dough
  • Cut the dough into 6 even strips lengthwise and stack them on top of each other
  • Cut the stacked dough once again 6 times width wise
  • Layer the dough into a greased and floured 9″ x 5″ loaf pan
  • Cover the Loaf plan and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes

9. Preheat oven to 350°F

10. Bake the dough in the oven for 30-35 minutes and allow to stand fro 20 minutes after removed.

11. Once cooled, run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and place on a plate and enjoy!