09 October 2007
What HAVE I been up to??? Pretzels!
Many thanks to Sande Guetthoff for asking me to develop this recipe for her. This makes individual sized soft pretzels that taste remarkably (scarily!) close to the real thing. They freeze beautifully and reheat well. For a treat, try the Bavarian Pretzel Sandwich Rolls Variation.
I'm including photos of each step to try and make it easier to visualize. Follow the directions carefully and you'll have real soft pretzels in no time!
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
4 c cold water
6 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1/2 c light corn syrup or agave nectar
1/4 c butter, margerine, or butter-flavoured shortening
2 tsp salt
Flour, for rolling
Beaten egg whites (about 3)
10 c hot water
2/3 c baking soda
coarse pretzel salt, if desired.
Line three or four baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. Put the yeast in the warm water and let sit for five minutes. Add 4 cups of the flour, corn syrup or agave, butter/margerine/shortening, and salt to the yeast mixture and beat well, on high speed, for three minutes. The mixture should resemble very, very sticky cookie dough (or even a bit wetter).
2. Put a cup of flour thickly over a silpat or plastic wrap and place the dough mixture on this. Sprinkle with another cup of the flour. Now very carefully incorporate the flour (knead it by folding the batter in half, patting it out, and folding gently again) until all the flour is absorbed. This should feel like sticky play-doh.
3. Separate the dough into balls slightly larger than baseballs but slightly smaller than tennis balls.
The outside of the ball will get slightly dry to the touch, but the inside will be really tacky and sticky (click pic for a closer look).
4. Very, very lightly flour your rolling surface. Taking one ball at a time, with floured hands, roll the ball between your hands until it is about four inches long. Lay onto the rolling surface.
Roll the dough very gently until it is about 9 inches long. At this point, it will be really delicate. Begin to VERY gently pinch the width of the dough to make it longer, and alternate this with patting the dough gently down to make it flatter. Keep doing this until the dough is about 14 inches long.
5. Take the rope and quickly form it, on the parchment sheets, into a pretzel shape. Brush a little egg white or water under the surface of each 'foot' and onto the base of the pretzel to adhere the 'arms' to the 'body'.
Let rise for 30-45 minutes.
6. Prepare the soda bath: Mix the 10 cups of water with the baking soda and (10 minutes before you're ready to dip the pretzels) heat to a boil. This will be cloudy in appearance. This should be ready just as the pretzels are done rising.
7. VERY CAREFULLY, using as wide a spatula as you can (use two-- one to life and one to slide under and support!) lift the pretzel from the parchment paper into the boiling soda bath. This will boil up into froth, so it's really important not to do more than two pretzels at a time at most! Cover with a lid and time for 1 minute.
This solution will get stronger smelling with each pretzel and may even turn a weird bright golden yellow as the batches progress. That's okay!!
8. VERY carefully remove the pretzel(s) from the water and place back on the parchment paper. Continue to do this with the rest of the pretzels.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Brush beaten egg white over the pretzels and bake for about 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown. If you are going to eat them hot, sprinkle the salt on before baking. If you are going to freeze them, wait until you are ready to heat them to put the salt on.