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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Soft and chewy parmesan pretzels


Time flies so fast and in less than a month , it would be another year . 

So , how's life treating you so far ? 

Anyway , I've made these pretzels last week but don't have time to sort out the photos . I used Alton Brown's recipe and this is actually my second batch , the first attempt was so-so , the shape looks blah and I found the taste a bit salty . This time , I hit a jackpot for both taste and shape , well , except for the legs heh ! 

Before I tasted Auntie Annie's soft pretzels , I was hooked on Snyder's , the hard and crunchy version with lots of different flavors and are readily available in the supermarkets . Much as I love hard pretzels , I can eat only so much before the roof of my mouth starts hurting . I don't have a problem with soft pretzels except I have to make it myself since you can't buy it anywhere in our area . No more Auntie Annie's shop in the mall near us *sigh*


From what I've read at Alton Brown's Good Eats 3 book , soft pretzels are always made with yeast dough and are similar in both composition and construction to bagels . Pretzels are shaped then briefly dip in a boiling water bath before baking . There are 2 ways to make a water bath , using a lye solution which you need a bit care in handling and using a baking soda which is readily available and safe to use . The boiling method gives pretzels its unique chewy flavor and a nice golden brown color . Brown's recipe calls for a baking soda bath but I added 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar when I saw The Kitchn's pretzel recipe . The recipe listed below is half with some minor tweaks . 

The dough will be sticky for few minutes of kneading but still easy enough to handle . The boiling gelatinize the surface of the pretzel dough ( and the addition of brown sugar ) makes the boiled dough a bit sticky , so don't forget grease the parchment paper , if you have a silicone baking mat , use it instead , it'll make your pretzels easier to remove after baking .

In this recipe , I used parmesan cheese not only as a filling , though you couldn't tell when you look at the photo below , but also for the glaze and topping . The cheese snob will certainly love this parm pretzels lol  


Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats 3 , page 52 .  Please check full recipe here

Makes 8 pretzels 

11 oz / 308 grams all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 teaspoon instant yeast 
3/4 cup warm water
1 oz / 28 grams unsalted butter , melted 

* In a mixing bowl , combine the flour , sugar , salt and yeast , use a whisk and mix thoroughly . Make a well in the center and pour in water and melted butter . Mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough , tip dough in the work surface and knead until smooth and elastic . 

* Transfer dough in a lightly-oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap , let rest until doubled in size , 1 hour or so , depending on the temperature . 

* Tip dough on the work surface , knead for few seconds then divide the dough into 8 pieces ( 65 grams each ) , let rest for 10 minutes . 

* Meanwhile preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil or use a silicon baking mat . 

* Working one dough at a time , shape dough into a square , about 4 1/2-inch , use your palm or fingertips to spread it , sprinkle top with some cheese and roll out dough into 18-20 inches . If the dough breaks while rolling , shape it again into a small ball and let it rest for a while . Make a U-shape with the rope , hold both ends and make a twist in the middle ; take the ends and press firmly into the top sides of the U ( or in the photo below , it's the other way around ) , place in the baking sheet and cover with tea towel . Continue with the rest of the dough . Let stand for 20 minutes until fluffy . 

* Bring 10 cups of water with baking soda and sugar into a boil in a wok or any straight-sided pan large enough to hold the water . One by one , place pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds . Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula , shake excess water and return them to the sheet pans , brush top with glaze and sprinkle some cheese on top . 

* Bake pretzels until dark golden brown in color , 12 to 14 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving .  

For the water bath 

10 cup water 
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoon light brown sugar

For the glaze : Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted with 1 tablespoon canola oil , let cool 
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoon grated garlic 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

* In a small bowl , combine everything together and set aside . 

For filling and topping : 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese



12 comments :

  1. Your bakes are always so perfect!

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  2. Hi Anne,

    Now, you can officially Aunt Anne (without i before your e) because you can bake very good pretzels!!!

    Zoe

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  3. I'm always looking for a good pretzel recipe..add the cheese, and I'm sooo there! Thanks ..

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  4. Good day Anne ! Your pretzels look wonderful. Wish I can have some for breakfast. Yummm... Hope you're going to have a fabulous day.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  5. Hi Anne,
    These soft pretzel looks awesome and the legs look kinda cute :p
    Can we exchange? Mine tuna buns with your soft yummy pretzel :)
    mui

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  6. I am a huge fan of soft pretzels. These look perfect, Anne.

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  7. I just wanna grab one of your pretzels over! Looks so inviting! With cheese, oh yes!

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  8. I love pretzels too. Always buy at least 2 when I passed by the store.

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  9. Hi Anne,
    I was a huge fan of Auntie Annes until an Amish pretzel stand opened up down the block. Oh my goodness, Anne was I in trouble!!!

    Alton' recipe is surly the way to go. I know boiling bagels before baking makes them oh so good. I'm sure it is the same with pretzels. I'm pretty sure the Amish stand boils them too but I will have to make note next time:)

    Your pretzels look awesome, Anne...I wonder if you could freeze the dough before boiling them? I'd be afraid to eat them all at once, lol...

    Thanks for sharing, Anne...

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  10. Those pretzels look so yummy! Parmesan is a terrific topping.

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  11. Oh my gosh, the look and the texture of these pretzels is so tempting! I wish, Anee if I could take a bite.

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  12. i didnt know making pretzels are similar to making bagels! they look beautiful!

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