Saturday, July 28, 2012

Soft Sourdough Pretzels

I've been excited to use my new sourdough starter. You have to "feed" the starter every week and discard a cup's worth of the stuff to keep the starter going. So sad to throw it away! When I saw this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website calling for a cup of that discarded starter, I was excited! Boy, do I love soft pretzels. They are my favorite treat at a ballgame - with some neon orange plastic cheese to dip them in, of course.

According to the other bakers, the recipe as published on the website makes more of a pretzel bread/roll, rather than the traditional twisted soft pretzel. I took their advice to boil the pretzel before cooking it in a super-hot oven. That step gave the pretzel a crisp outside while keeping the inside soft and tender. Heaven! I didn't have any pretzel salt, but still was blown away by the results! These pretzels will be baked frequently in my house. So, I may try to find some of those giant granules of salt to keep on hand!

Sourdough Pretzel
from King Arthur Flour

Pretzel Dough
3/4 c lukewarm water
1 c unfed sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator
3 c flour
3T almond milk
1 T sugar
1 T vegetable oil1
1/2 t salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2/3 c baking soda
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Pretzel salt
2 T melted butter, optional

1. Mix the dough ingredients into a smooth dough. It will be sticky.
2. Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add baking soda.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces (24 pieces for pretzel "knots").
5. Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
6. In batches, drop pretzels into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Place boiled pretzels on a greased cookie sheet.
7. Brush tops of pretzels with egg wash, and bake for 14 minutes (10-12 in convection oven), until they're a light golden brown.
8. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.

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