Saturday, July 27, 2013

Love Knots | Soft Hot Buttered Pretzels



If you had to choose between an Alton Brown recipe and a King Arthur Flour recipe for soft pretzels, what would you do?

Tough choice.After all, Alton Brown is almost as exhaustive as Christopher Kimball when it comes to figuring out the very best way to make something.

On the other hand, when you're baking, what better authority than the royalty of  King Arthur Flour?

Although nearly a toss-up, in the end I chose the King Arthur Flour recipe because it seemed just a tad simpler and, since this was to be a  lesson with my little 8 year old cooking student, simpler was the way to go.

With school out for the summer, Wyatt and I had plans to make "bread" things since we had more time than during the school year.

We started with a quick bread.  Then moved on to sweet rolls. But to make things interesting (and educational) we conducted our own little experiment.

We made a "quick sweet roll," a recipe that used just baking powder instead of yeast. His job was to take both versions homes and test them out. I was surprised that the "quick" sweet roll -- an America's Test Kitchen recipe --  beat out the traditional yeast rolls. (And I forgot to get pictures before Wyatt took them all home!)

So we moved on to these pretzels -- if I knew that they were this easy -- and fun -- to make, I would have made them a long time ago.

With this success under our belt, we may move on to regular, real bread!



Soft Hot Buttered Pretzels
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt, optional
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
*Note from KAF Bakers: Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.


  • To make dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).
  • Preheat your oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each).
  • Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour the baking soda/water into a inch square pan.
  • 8) Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28" to 30" long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. This baking soda "bath" will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
  • Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (We sprinkled half of our pretzels with cinnamon sugar, half with salt. Sugar for Wyatt, salt for me.)
  • Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
  • Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
Makes 8 large pretzels.


34 comments:

  1. What gorgeous pretzels. Hard to chose between Alton and King Arthur. But when I have a choice, I usually choose simpler too.
    Sam

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    1. I'll have to try Alton Brown's, too, Sam. But a small bath of lukewarm water seemed easier than a pot of boiling water!

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  2. Such fun to do with a youngster. They looks delicious. I'd love to be a taster.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. But, Bonnie, would you choose salt or cinnamon sugar? :)

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  3. Replies
    1. If Ina had been in the mix, I would have been in trouble, Marta!

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  4. I love the look of these pretzels. Will definitely put them on my to do list.

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    1. I wish I could have gotten them just a little darker. (They didn't look like the KAF photo,) But I'll definitely make these again, Susan.

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  5. I am a fan of homemade breads..the knot looks beautiful, Rosemary.

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    1. . . . and you're good at them , Angie! I'm still experimenting, but I have to admit, it's satisfying and fun -- when they're good that is.!

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  6. Love these beauties! I need to make a batch for my youngest before he goes back to college :)


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    1. They were a nice treat, Liz. Aren't you going to teach him to make them?!?! : ))

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  7. I can imagine the fun you both must have had baking these fun rolls in the kitchen.

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    1. You're right, Val. We had races to see who could make their "snake" faster!

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  8. I think I will have to borrow my nieces and nephew and give these a go. I can just imagine you two rolling up snakes at the speed of light. Fun and delicious!

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    1. It was quite fun, Hester -- and the pretzels were delicious! Warm and buttery, just like KAF said!

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  9. These look and sound amazing. Yes, Alton and King Arthur Flour would be a tough choice. I don't know what I would pick first.

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    1. I guess I'll have to try Alton's recipe to be fair, Emily. By the way (I guess I better e-mail you) so glad you discovered the two-ingredient Nutella ice cream! I've made it three times to Mr. Rosemary's delight!

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  10. I'm a sucker for pretzels. I love Auntie Ann's and if I were making them I'd have cinnamon on mine too. These look yummy and moist

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    1. They're easy to be a sucker for, Vicki.

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  11. Oh my, these look awesome! Dan and the boys will be begging for these :)

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  12. I know that Wyatt must be having a great time with you in the kitchen...what a great experience.

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    1. Definitely for me, Karen, and I hope for him!

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  13. I would love to make these. I would also love to make bagels and have procrastinated and have never made those either. Yours look so good I am inspired to get the lead out and make them.

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    1. I also just found a recipe for English muffins . . . that's on my list, Karen.

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  14. That was a tough choice, but it looks like you came up with a winner.

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    1. But I'm still curious, Linda, and think I'll have to try Alton's, with or without my young cooking partner.

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  15. Mmmmm! I opened this post and saw that pretzel and thought ... "Oktoberfest!" These are a fun and perfect way to work on 'bread things' with your young pal! I'm glad I dropped in today, Rosemary!

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    1. And would you have a favorite beer to go along with the pretzel, Susan? :)

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  16. they food looks delish so I am putting that to the top of my list

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  17. Yummy Rosemary, much better than mall pretzels!

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  18. I can never resist hot pretzels and so fresh out of the oven? WOW! It's awesome for you to be on you bread-making mission! Something I've always wished to do someday! Thanks Rosemary!

    xo
    Roz

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I realize you don't have to take the time to comment . . . but it makes my day! So glad you decided to stay.