Though I absolutely love to scroll endlessly (read: procrastinate from doing my last four days of schoolwork ever) through the inspiring and bright and funny and silly pins that I find on Pinterest (you can follow me here if you wish), I rarely remember to check my “Food to Make” board when I need inspiration. A particular pin, from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod, stood out to me.
Question. Does one italicize blog titles? And does one disregard anything in parentheses when examining my impressive ability to construct run-on sentences? And start sentences with the word “and”?
Anyway. I love grammar.
I saw this picture of soft pretzels on Friday, thought about them all day Saturday, and made them Sunday.
Baking anything yeasted for me is so therapeutic. This recipe actually brought me back to the first time I ever made soft pretzels as a kid. Though I’m pretty sure they used yeast, they were definitely not boiled–I mean, I was still using a chair to reach the counter high enough to knead dough. I definitely wasn’t at the level of boiling pretzels for that perfect chewy finish. Anyway, I made them into all different fun shapes, covered them with an egg wash and salt, and was so, so proud of them when a friend of my mom’s raved about how talented I was for like, five whole minutes, man.
She bonded herself to me for life that day. I brought her baked stuff so often after that…she probably lived to rue the day she complimented those soft pretzels so vehemently.
I have been reminiscing a lot lately, haven’t I? Must be the whole graduating thing that has me being so introspective.
Make some soft pretzels for yourself! It’s work intensive, but quite rewarding.
Sea Salt and Rosemary Soft Pretzels (makes eight beautiful big pretzels)
- 1 1/2 C warm water
- 2 T light brown sugar
- 1 package yeast (2 1/4 t)
- 6 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2 t salt
- 2 C whole-wheat flour
- 2-2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 t dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 T water
- coarse sea salt to top
You’ll also need a lot of baking soda (2/3 C) and water to boil the pretzels in.
Every time I attempt to type “pretzels”, I write “pretzles”. It’s very annoying.
Also, I only had 1/3 C of baking soda (if that) and things turned out just fine.
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of your mixer and allow it to sit for five minutes to proof the yeast. Please do not be like me and kill the yeast the first time with water or butter that is too hot.
Add the salt, rosemary, whole wheat flour, and 1 C of the all-purpose flour the the mixture and start mixing with the dough hook. Add the remaining flour 1/4 C at a time until the dough forms a ball in the middle, pulling away from the sides of the bowl but still sticking a little bit to the bottom. It shouldn’t be too sticky–or too unsticky, either. Find the balance! Knead for five minutes with the dough hook.
Lightly spray a bowl with canola oil, dump the dough in, and cover with Saran wrap. Let the dough sit for about an hour until it doubles in size.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into eight equal pieces. Let it rest for a minute or two while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a giant pot of a couple quarts of water to a boil.
Roll out the pieces of dough into very long and thin ropes, and shape into pretty pretzel shapes. I just did your basic crossover pretzel, but you could add a twist to the middle if you are fancier. You don’t have to go crazy making sure the dough adheres to itself, since boiling the dough will make it stick together just where you want it to.
When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda (be careful of the volcano effect), and boil the pretzels, two at a time, for two minutes on each side.
Once boiled, place them on a greased baking sheet, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle on some coarse salt.
Bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack in the oven until they are a nice golden brown.
These pretzels were chewy on the outside, soft on the inside. I really like the addition of rosemary, but actually may have liked them even better without the added spice. Not sure yet.
These pretzels are big, too. Perfectly hearty for a big snack after, oh, I don’t know…a seven mile run.
Oh, you like how I slipped that in there? Yep, that’s right–I ran a whopping seven miles today! Not a big deal for you ultra-marathon runners out there, but definitely a serious accomplishment for a once anti-runner like myself.
I can tell that my hamstrings are gonna be a little sore tomorrow, but it felt good to reach a new distance goal.
That’s two therapeutic processes in one blog post–baking with yeast, and running.
I must need some therapy.