Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels



About a month ago, Frank and I drove out to Warrenville, IL to check out the Two Brothers Brewing Company. The brewery has a restaurant attached to it, so after you take a tour (about an hour long) you can get some grub to go along with your complimentary beer tastings. 


While I loved all of the Two Brothers beer I drank and food I ate, there were two things that left me yearning for more:

1. Coconut Infused Beer
2. Soft Pretzels

I know the first sounds a bit off, but believe me when I say it was delicious. The beer wasn't overly sweet, but had that toasted coconut flavor that instantly made you wish you were at the beach. 

The soft pretzels were not anything near those dry things they serve at baseball games. These were homemade, well salted, delicious pretzels that I could have easily ate a dozen of. Once I left Two Brothers, I couldn't stop thinking about them, so I decided to try and make a batch myself.

When I made these homemade soft pretzels, I was in a big hurry - hence the odd, thick shape. It's a start, and the recipe is a keeper, so I just need to work on my technique a bit more.

Oh, and if you have never had Two Brothers beer, go treat yourself to a 6 pack of Ebel Weiss.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F
  • /45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. 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. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. 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.

 
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.

4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. 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.
 
  
5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

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