Friday, January 21, 2011
When Life Gives You an Earthquake, Make Pretzels - makes 8
I shut the door and go and make pretzels. Unlike the twisted mess in my daughters room, they can certainly put a smile on my face and serve up as a nice snack to my red-caped husband.
3 3/4 cups bread flour (20 ounces), plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
10 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup baking soda
2 cups boiling water
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt, for sprinkling
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the 3 3/4 cups of bread flour with the warm water, yeast, kosher salt and butter and knead at medium speed until the flour is evenly moistened, 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms around the hook, 8 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Cover loosely with a dry kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and form each one into a ball. Cover the dough balls with the towel and let rest for another 5 minutes.
On an unfloured surface, roll each ball of dough into an 18-inch-long rope, tapering them slightly at both ends. To shape each pretzel, form the rope into a U shape. Cross the ends over each other twice to form the twist, then bring the ends to the bottom of the U and press the tips onto it. Arrange the pretzels on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper and let stand uncovered in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until slightly risen. Refrigerate the pretzels uncovered for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Dissolve 1/2 cup baking soda in 2 quarts of boiling water. Boil the pretzels for 30 seconds, then drain on wire racks before salting and baking.
Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt and bake on the top and middle racks of the oven until shiny-brown and risen, about 17 minutes; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the pretzels cool slightly on the baking sheets before serving.