Friday, December 12, 2014

Whole-Wheat Soft Pretzels

I had not planned to make pretzels [at any time in the near future] the day that I prepared these. Events had gone awry for me that morning, and this was merely a continuation of how my day had started. 

I intended to make Whole-Wheat Burger Buns, and the two recipes are next to each other in my personal cookbook. I was a few ingredients in before I realized I had been looking at both recipes, and it was too late to switch back to the burger bun recipe. So, instead of tossing what was in the bowl, I decided to modify the ingredients and make pretzels. Fortunately, the result was delicious, and they freeze well!

4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute - I used sugar substitute
1¼ cups warm water (110° - 115°)
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1¾ cups all-purpose or white flour
¼ to ⅓ cup sugar substitute - the recipe I started with called for ⅓ cup. I used a scant ⅓ cup and thought the pretzels were a bit too sweet.
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup baking soda
5 cups water
about ¼ cup kosher salt

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until mixture begins to foam—8 to 10 minutes.

Mix flours, ⅓ cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add yeast mixture and oil. Mix into a tacky dough. Add water if too dry. I had to add about ¼ cup of water this time, although this may have been because I started out with somewhat incorrect quantities, and then did not modify the quantities correctly. 
before rising

Kneed until smooth—7 to 9 minutes. Place in a large bowl coated with oil. Turn to coat, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. The original directions said to place the dough in a large bowl twice the size. I used only a somewhat larger bowl, which worked out just fine.

after rising

Preheat oven to 450° and spray baking sheets with cooking spray. The original recipe said to use parchment paper; however, I did not have any so I used spray instead, and the pretzels did not stick or make a mess. 

Dissolve baking soda in a large pot of boiling water on the stove; reduce heat to simmer.

Divide the dough into 12 portions, roll into ½” ropes and form into pretzel shapes. As you can see, I am not the best artist when it comes to food presentation! This is a photo of the pretzel shapes before dipping in the water.

Dip each pretzel into the simmering water and let it rise to the surface, about 10 seconds total. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well, and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until golden brown—8 to 10 minutes.

This last photo shows the pretzels with a small piece broken off to show the texture inside. Every photo in this blog can be enlarged to see the detail by clicking on it. The salt in the photos really stands out, and it looks like there is a lot of salt on the pretzels when it is really just a sprinkle on each one.

The pretzels are delicious alone, or served with spicy mustard or cheese sauce. Freeze until ready to eat, and then they can be heated in the microwave or oven.