I have been struggling with a terrible head cold for the last few days. It was a gift from my beautiful children. Don't you love the way illness works its way through the family? All in all this darn cold has been working us over for the last two weeks.
On Saturday, despite being under the weather, I had a sudden hankering for soft pretzels. I'm pretty sure that this was my train of thought: I started thinking about how much I wanted to be out of the house (we've been cooped up for a while). Then I thought how nice it would be to go to the mall. From there I imagined purchasing some lovely soft pretzel bites from the Pretzel Maker in the mall....mmmm.
Off to Pinterest I went for a pretzel recipe. I found one that I thought was worth trying. I found the recipe via Just Another Day in Paradise and it looks like the original recipe was found on In Katrina's Kitchen. Both are great websites. Here's the recipe:
Soft Pretzels and Pretzel Bites
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 pkg)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups flour
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
coarse Kosher salt
In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with dough hook, dissolve yeast, brown sugar and salt in the warm water. Mix in flour until the dough has come together enough to turn out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. (If you don't have a mixer, you can do all this by hand with a sturdy spoon and then kneading an extra 2-3 minutes) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 1 hour.
After the dough has risen, cut it into 16 pieces. Let the dough rest for five minutes. Roll each piece into a 1 1/2 foot rope. Twist ropes into small pretzel shapes OR for bites: Cut each rope into small pieces. Don't cut them too small. I found that larger was a little better.
In a large saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water and the baking soda to a simmer over med heat. In batches, place pretzel pieces in the water. For larger pretzels, I did two at a time. Let them cook in the water for about 20 seconds. Take out and lay them on a greased cooking sheet. Repeat until all the pieces are done. Let them rise for another 15 minutes.
Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure not to over cook them. I liked them best when they were on the lighter side of golden brown.
My children gobbled the pretzel bites right up. They kept coming back for more. If they hadn't just gotten back from getting bagels, they probably would have eaten half the batch. It was fun trying my hand at something new. We'll have to make them again in the future.
Have a Happy Day!
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