Friday, September 12, 2008

Pretzels

In the fall, my wife and I are college football addicts. We even planned our wedding around the college football, specifically the University of Nebraska football schedule. My wife, who was born and raised in Nebraska by a college football obsessed mother, enables my addiction. During football season, we've contemplated placing tinfoil over our windows, wearing pajamas all day, and dining on whatever can be delivered to our front door, so we could focus solely on college football. After a brief discussion we decided that this might traumatize our daughter too much, but we decided it would be OK to wear our pajamas all day.

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:

Pretzels

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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Shaping:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Finish:

  1. 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.
  2. Place each finished pretzel on a baking sheeting and brush with an egg white wash.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place the pretzels in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown. This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. Enjoy.
take care,
muddywaters


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.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow, 16 hours is impressive. Not even my husband (also a college football fanatic) has lasted that long in front of a TV! We did, however, make a pilgrimage to Gainesville, Florida a few weeks ago for the University of Miami-UF game. We drove for 4 hours, tailgated for another 4, then somehow FAILED to get tickets into the stadium. It was a crusher, but like good fans, we watched the game from a bar across the street. Not quite the same experience as being inside the Swamp, but good enough considering the circumstances! These pretzels look great!

Jenni said...

I need to try Pretzels. I am printing this one.

Thanks for visiting, I laughed at your comment about the ants... At least it was an ant not a snake or another yucky critter.

Why can you use brown suger or the malt? That seems to be an odd substitution.

muddywaters said...

Sarah: Thanks for the comments. I've been tapering off my football watching. The weather here has been too beautiful to stay inside. I'd love to attend a SEC game. Since Fayetteville isn't too far away, I should attend an University of Arkansas game.

Jenni: Thanks for your comments. I can't explain why brown sugar and malt are interchangable. Since I never have malt powder on hand, I always use brown sugar. The pretzels always turn out great. They're best eaten the dough you make them, which isn't ever a problem for me. I made a double batch last time, and they're not near as good day two.