Pictures of movies stars fade and grow old
The hot dogs and pretzels are always served cold
Take nothing with you when you leave but your soul
In lulu land
“Lulu Land” by Camper Van Beethoven
My wife loves soft pretzels with that plastic ballpark cheese; it is her go to junk food at any event that offers such culinary treasures. I saw Alton Brown make pretzels a couple of years back and I remember the recipe didn’t seem too confusing. The part that always scared me was parboiling the dough before baking. It was no problem at all and the pretzels from start to finish were completed in about two hours. I also thought that beer cheese soup -a Wisconsin treasure- would be a perfect accompaniment to replace the synthetic cheese substance my wife adores. It probably would have been a great pairing if I didn’t let the soup separate (I will give that recipe another try in the future). Anyways, the pretzels were awesome and easy-to-prepare. This recipe does require one essential gadget, a kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook attachment, unless you really, really like to knead dough…it is a must.
Makes eight pretzels
1 1/2 cup warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt, I used kosher salt
1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top.
2. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
3. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined.
4. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil.
6. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
8. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
9. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart non-reactive saucepan. (some critics suggest this prevents an overly metallic taste, I used my enamel pot)
10. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
11. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
12. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel
13. Let formed pretzels rest for 15 minutes
14. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds
15. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula
16. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt
17. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes
18. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving
Modified from Alton Brown’s Good Eats http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-soft-pretzels-recipe/index.html