How’d you feel about the Superbowl this year? I wasn’t really rooting for either team, per se, but I’m OK with the Giants while I really do not like the Patriots at all. So I was cool with seeing them lose. It was definitely an exciting game, though …. and I don’t really get into football, so that’s saying something.
Anyway, if you can’t tell, the Superbowl is not so much about football for me ….. thus obviously it must be about the FOOD! Yup, you got it. This is what I made this year:
They may not be the most pretzel-looking pretzels you’ve ever seen, but they do taste like pretzels, and they’re really really gooooooooood (Josh Turner voice).
I was really excited/nervous about making pretzels from scratch. I’ve never tried them before, and how do you make that twisty shape anyway?! But it seemed like a really cool thing to try, and Ben is crazy about pretzels, even the gross (in my opinion) cardboardy kind, so I was pretty sure he’d eat them even if they weren’t very good. ;-)
4 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour (I used less, more like 4-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. This is the “proof” to make sure the yeast is active.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. It takes a while for the dough to become smooth, just be patient and keep kneading the stuffin’ out of it!
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in the 4 cups of hot water. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Note – the dough is REALLY, REALLY elastic, wow. As you can see from the pictures my pretzels look more like knots. No matter how long I beat it, the dough would zoiiing (yes, that’s a word) back every time I stretched it out. It seemed like the last few pretzels I shaped were a bit more relaxed, so perhaps the answer is to give the dough a brief second rising after punching it down and dividing it into sections. Not sure yet, but I WILL be making this recipe again so I’ll figure it out. And despite looking like bunchy knots, the pretzels were deeelicious so it’s no big deal.
See, here’s me workin’ that dough so hard my arms are a blur. It takes a while and a LOT of energy. I think I got a good cardio workout doing that, seriously.
After some practice, I could do the pretzel shape too — it’s not too hard.
Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned. Once the pretzels come out of the oven, brush with butter (and lots of it!). Or you can try alternate toppings like brushing with olive oil, sprinkling with parmesan cheese and having marinara sauce for dipping …. or go with coarse sugar instead of salt, cinnamon and butter …. or whatever.
I was really amazed by how good these turned out on my first try. They tasted just as good, if not better, than the Pretzelmaker ones from the mall (the ones that cost $8.99 for a pretzel, a dollar extra for a tiny cup of sauce, and the guy who takes your order is extremely crabby). I can’t wait to make them again, maybe as soon as next week (heart-shaped pretzels, anyone??). I need to figure out how to get the dough to relax a bit, and I want to try different toppings. But seriously, just this recipe served hot with butter and salt was great. And they took a few hours to do, part of which was rising of course, so they don’t take all that long. If you’re going to double the recipe (cause it only makes 12) you should try to get some help with the rolling-and-shaping part, though, that was the most time-consuming and tiring part.
Have a great week!