Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bread of a Snacky Kind - Crispy, but Soft Pretzels

  
 

I have been considering this for a long time and only just now got up the courage. I know that sounds a little dramatic, and, truthfully, maybe I'm overdoing it a little. Still, here goes. Normally I post a recipe and some small reminiscence of a childhood memory associated with the recipe. Like, the famous Bernie's Bakery in Sydney, NS. This time it's different. I think I have mentioned that I like to snack. In fact, it's a bit of an embarrasment that with all my healthy baking that sometimes I just crave a salty snack. So... how to combine the two? Well, here is my first attempt at pretzels, baked with whole wheat and, of course, lots of kosher salt. Honestly? I will have to make them again, and again. My one comment, aside from the fact that they were delicious, is that you should remember to store them in a paper bag. Otherwise, and this happened to me, they become soft like a roll, instead of staying crispy like a good pretzel.

This recipe uses whole wheat and AP flour in combination to allow for gluten development. Also, and this is what separates a good pretzel from a so-so pretzel, they are boiled in water with baking soda added. Well worth the effort, believe me. Try these and you will never eat store-bought pretzels again.

Here's What You'll Need: (for 8 pretzels)
200g (about 1 3/4 cups) whole wheat flour
230ml (8 ounces) warm water
1 Tbs. butter, softened
180g (about 1 1/2 cups) AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. barley malt (or demerara sugar)

Water Bath
2 L (8 cups) water in which is dissolved 2 Tbs. baking soda

Glaze
1 egg beaten with some water
kosher salt and seeds for topping

Here's What You'll Need To Do:

1. Whole wheat flour needs extra time to absorb the liquid (and it also absorbs more liquid) than AP flour. So, mix the whole wheat flour with the water, then cover it and let it stand for about 20 minutes.


2. Then mix in all the remaining ingredients, and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. The dough will be smooth and just barely sticky. Place it in a bowl, covered, and let it rest and rise until doubled. This will take at least an hour. Maybe longer. Remember, bread is patience. If you hurry it, you get bad bread.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C (450F), and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Pour the water in a largish pot, and bring to a boil. Add in the baking soda.

5. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces, then roll out into 'snakes'. Fold the dough into a pretzel form by twisting and folding it over on itself. Then place the pretzel on a tray to rest for about 10 minutes.

6. Finally, gently place each pretzel in the post of boiling water (not a violent boil, but bubbling). Boil the pretzels for about 2-3 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the process. They will swell up appreciably in the water. Then place the boiled pretzels (with a slotted spoon) back on the baking paper.

7. When you have finished with all the pretzels, brush with the egg wash, then sprinkle with kosher salt, and/or seeds if you prefer.

8. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are a deep brown and quite crispy.

Cool on a rack, but they are also delicious served while still warm. Store in a paper bag!!
Enjoy.

5 comments:

  1. The boiling water part I remember well from our Grandmother's bagels (still the only thing that qualifies as a bagel in my mind) but as I remember, she put white sugar in the water. Is the baking soda just for the pretzels? I remember her bagels as being quite crispy, as well as a real jawbone workout.

    Also, can I use dark brown sugar or molasses instead of barley malt. I have those & use them often so I don't need to get something extra just for one recipe.

    Finally, can this recipe be made with all AP flour? If so, what are the proportions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the questions.
      Yes, the baking soda is just for the pretzels. It makes for the crispy crust, while keeping the crumb soft. The sugar is for bagels. In NY they use sugar typically, and in other places, like Montreal, they use light brown sugar or barley malt for bagels. This makes for a crisp crust and a chewy bagel!
      You can use brown sugar or molasses instead of barley malt, it will just color the dough. Not a big deal, just know it will happen.
      You can use AP flour instead of bread flour if you like. The pretzels will be, if anything, a little softer and maybe not quite as crispy. They will still be delicious.

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    2. Thanks for the info. I will be making these for our next get together. Love ya!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the questions.
    Yes, the baking soda is just for the pretzels. It makes for the crispy crust, while keeping the crumb soft. The sugar is for bagels. In NY they use sugar typically, and in other places, like Montreal, they use light brown sugar or barley malt for bagels. This makes for a crisp crust and a chewy bagel!
    You can use brown sugar or molasses instead of barley malt, it will just color the dough. Not a big deal, just know it will happen.
    You can use AP flour instead of bread flour if you like. The pretzels will be, if anything, a little softer and maybe not quite as crispy. They will still be delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A very nice informational blog. Keep on making such important blog post. Your work is really being appreciated by someone. teddy bears for babies

    ReplyDelete