Opening weekend we watched over 16 hours of football. We sent my daughter to my parents that weekend, so she wouldn't see her parents in the grip of their addiction. Last weekend with our daughter at home, we scaled back our football to a mere 6 hours. Fortunately my wife and I didn't suffer tremors, night sweats, or hallucinations.
Tonight we've invited friends over to watch the University of Kansas battle the University of South Florida. I whipped up a batch of soft pretzels as a way to introduce our friends to our twisted college football addiction:
Ingredients: Makes 6 large pretzels
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon malt powder or brown sugar
- 2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until it forms a ball. I start with 2 cups of the flour and mix it together until it forms something like a thick batter, then add more flour a handful at a time until it'll form a nice ball that I can knead by hand.
- Either use an electric mixer to mix the dough for 5 minutes or remove it from the bowl and knead it by hand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough begins to get smooth and satiny.
- Return the ball of dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately an hour.
Before shaping, start preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the dough into 6 pieces. Roll each one into a short log, cover with a towel, and let the dough relax for 5 to 10 minutes. After it has relaxed you should be able to roll it out and stretch again fairly easily.
- Shaping pretzels is simple, once you get a hang of it. Place a rope of dough on the work surface in front of you. Take each end in a hand, loop the dough away from you, and bring the ends back toward your stomach, crossing them about an inch above the rope.
- To give each pretzel a glossy sheen and a taste of soda, boil the pretzels in a mixture of 2/3 cups baking soda and water. Just simply boil each pretzel for about 10 seconds.
- Place each finished pretzel on a baking sheeting and brush with an egg white wash.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Place the pretzels in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown. This will take about 15 minutes.
PS. . . The University of South Florida is in Tampa, which isn't really in the southern portion of Florida. The people who named the university must be the same people who think Salina, Kansas, is in Western Kansas.