The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pretzels

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ArtisanGeek's picture
ArtisanGeek

Hello everyone, I've been trolling around here for a while and I decided its time to finally post something. This is my version of soft pretzels. For the formula and details, check out my blog , The Bread Portal. This is very similar to the Pretzel formula post in the "Favorite Reciptes" section of this blog.


Easy Pretzels

benjamin's picture
benjamin

I have made soft pretzels in the past, and have always enjoyed them, however I have always wanted to make a sourdough version. After much internet research, I did not come across any recipes that called out to me, so I decided to do my own. I adapted a Bertinet recipe, simply replacing fermented white dough in the recipe with an equal quantity of firm sourdough starter. I also retarded the dough in the fridge over night... though this was more to do with the fact that I wanted to bake them fresh the next morning rather than anything else.


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All in all I was really pleased with the result. The inside was very soft and authentic. I didn't bother with either a lye bath, or boiling the pretzels prior to baking. I plan to try boiling the next time I make these, but the lye bath seems a little to much trouble.


By the way, I will be happy to post the whole recipe if anyone is interested.


 


happy baking


ben

funkdenomotron's picture
funkdenomotron

Greetings! Wanted to create a blog, and give a bit of history and aspirations. I have looked over this site a few times and finally decided to join. I am 31, I have been baking for almost 2 years. I was an army brat, and grew up in Frankfurt and Stutgartt. I first started with pretzels, and have come up with a realy good simple recipe that can be made with packaged yeast or starter. I live in south florida now though, and I'm not so sure the wild yeast here is quite up to snuff. Perhaps the heat and humidity play a role, the first batch and second batch yield a good bread, but the starter then tends to sour too much and turn into a grey lump of bla. I am also quite the avid ametuer chef, and take pride in measuring nothing. This is not a skill that is transferrring well to baking breads. I have been trying to bake a good baguette. Traditionally I have started with my yeast and warm water, then add slowly the flour, of course type depends on what I want, until I get a good dough. But there are books that say to measure and add all at once. There are books that say to knead vigorously for 8 min. There are books that say to knead lightly for 15 min. Some say to add the salt last, some immediatley. Some want a cold rise, some want a warm rise. Some want 3 rises, some want 1. To spray or not to spray? So I will be interested in some recipes and techniques, and I will try and figure out what i am doing when i make pretzels and post. Aufwiedersehen!      

zhi.ann's picture
zhi.ann

My second attempt at using yeast!

I discovered one packet of my yeast, labeled as 18g, results in more than 35 ml (about 7 tsp or 2 1/3 Tbsp) of dry yeast. Is it okay that I store what I don't use in an airtight tupperware-type container, in a dark cabinet?

storing yeast

I started preparing for the pretzels at 8:10 pm using floyd's recipe here.

I wasn't sure how to activate my yeast, not sure whether to mix in or let it sit on top of the water, but I think it worked correctly; at first, nothing seemed to happen but after a few minutes a thickish layer of tan foamish stuff was on the top.

activating dry yeast

My brown sugar comes in hard blocks I have to chop up to make like a powder. It wasn't as fine as it could of been if I kept chopping, but after quite awhile, I put it in there. Is it okay that my brown sugar wasn't super-fine?

not too fine brown sugar

I had to add a ton of flour, probably 550 ml (2.5 cups) above the original 240 ml (1 cup).

I also didn't know how to knead until satiny. After just a minute or two, it seemed smoother than before, but as I continued kneading it quickly became rougher, and after 8 minutes of kneading and not being sure what I was looking for, I moved on. Also, despite the added flour, it still stuck to the cutting board a lot.

This may be because of the consistency being off, but I couldn't figure out how to "roll" my dough into logs. I kind of squeezed them into the logs, rolling as much as I could (not much) to make them round, and I came out with very inconsistent sizes with loops that didn't want to stick at all.

pretzel logs

I used the eggwash.

I didn't know whether to grease the baking sheet, and whether the salt was needed (I always scrape the salt off my pretzels cuz I don't like the taste). I salted one, put garlic powder on one, and left the others plain.

pretzels, pre-baking

At this point (I know better now) I thought I should only turn on the bottom, not the top, heating element for baking. After 6 minutes, my pretzels were so HUGE, they didn't really have holes anymore. Oh well.

The tops weren't browning at all (obviously since I didn't have any heat up there) but the bottoms were turning yucky black, so I took them out.

pretzels, post-baking

You know what? They tasted really good. They taste to me like breadsticks, not pretzels, but still yummy. My husband melted some butter with garlic powder mixed in, and it made a great dip. I liked the garlic powder pretzel best, and wonder whether I could brush them with the butter/garlic powder mix rather than the egg, or in addition?

pretzel inside - yum!

Looking forward to trying this again:
-with both heating elements on
-rolling the dough out thinner so the pretzels will look more like pretzels
-potentially brushing with butter/onion powder, based on people here's suggestions
-anything else people suggest for me 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

We don't really watch the superbowl, and in fact don't have a tv this year (don't ask) but why not eat silly food anyway?

 

Not my greatest photo, but we ate all the pretty samples so there's no chance for a re-shoot. In the bowl (impossible to make out) is homemade nacho cheese sauce. I made a simple white sauce with cheddar and monterey jack, and added some chopped whole jalapenos that I froze from the garden last year. Could be thicker but WAY tastier than the kind you get at the cafeteria!

 

These are from Daniel Leader's Local Breads (newest cookbook acquisition) and the dough was lovely to work with.

 

Also have my first ever batch of baked beans in the oven. May have to post a picture (they are baked so that counts, right?) because I'm quite smitten with them--they take forever though and your house smells good ALL DAY.

 

Anybody else making fun food for super sunday?

 

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2332/2240462432_cacffac8be.jpg

 

 

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

Work has kept my bread making to a minimum the past few months. Visiting all of you at TFL this evening has me pulling the starters out of the fridge and shopping for food grade lye once again. With my family on the road I like to make pretzels just for me. I've been using a boiling water bath with baking soda but I used a link I found here for www.aaa-chemicals.com in Houston Texas and found that they will be offering free shipping November 19th - 23rd. The lye is 8.99 for 2# (the smallest quantity they offer) and regular shipping is 11.99 minimum. If I can wait, I'll avail myself of that window of opportunity, irresistable to internet shoppers, free shipping!

My favorite recipe I've adapted from one posted by the American HomeBrew Association. They require drinking a homebrew (can we substitute a microbrew?) both before and after the pretzel making steps.

4 1/2 tsp of saf-instant yeast

1 1/2 C warm water

2 T sugar

1 tsp salt

4 C high gluten flour

2 T powdered buttermilk

1 well beaten egg

Margarita salt

Preheat oven to 450. Cover a baking sheet with parchment and lightly spray with oil. Disolve yeast in warm water, add sugar. Mix salt, flour and buttermilk powder in the mixer or by hand. Add the liquid and mix for 5-10 minutes with the dough hook or knead by hand. Let dough rest and hydrate for about 10 minutes. I divide the dough roughly into six pieces and roll between my palms into a rope about 18" long. Form the pretzels and give the ends a little pasting down by dipping your fingertips in water and pinching the overlapping dough a bit. Disolve 4 tsp baking soda in 4 C water and bring to a boil. I use tongs to dip the pretzels, one at a time, into the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes turning once. Dry them a bit with paper towels as they come out of the water bath and arrange them on the oiled parchment. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes or until a deep brown. I've learned that darker is better to my taste.

I have experimented with using other bread doughs to make pretzels with mixed results. I think you need a fairly high protein formula and really active yeast to stand up to all the handling and the water bath. One of my pretzel recipes says that as good as pretzels are hot from the oven they are very bad cold and don't reheat well. I don't agree. I store cooled pretzels in a zip-lock and toast them one or two a day in my wide slot toaster. De-lish! The perfect bread-for-one.

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