Monday, March 02, 2009
Oscar (or Any!) Night Pretzels
Like many of you, CH and I spent Oscar night basking in the warm glow of the TV and consuming tons of delicious food. And, since we had seen (and loved!) most of the nominated films, we decided to celebrate our excitement regarding the ceremony by preparing one of our favorite snacks: home-made soft pretzels.
Two hours before the show started, we set all of the necessary supplies/ingredients out and got to work.
CH and I each took half of the dough and did our best to replicate the pretzels that we've come to know and love from one of the local brewpubs. It's safe to say that our favorite part was smacking the center of the dough against the table (kinda like when you're jumping rope) in order to stretch it out. (My other favorite part was catching a glimpse of the stars on the red carpet - in high-def! - as we continued cooking...)
Ultimately, we topped our pretzels with garlic powder and dipped them in yellow mustard, but they would've been equally fantastic right out of the oven. And, although the whole process took around an hour and a half to complete, it was only because the dough had to rise for an hour - no problem at all...
Recipe: Oscar (or Any!) Night Soft Pretzels
(adapted from "Food Network Magazine," Feb/March 2009 issue)
1 c. plain soymilk
1 pkg. active dry yeast
3 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
8 Tbsp. Earth Balance butter substitute
1 tsp. fine salt
1/3 c. baking soda
3 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1.) Warm soymilk in saucepan until approx 110 degrees F. Pour soymilk into medium-sized bowl & add yeast, allowing to soften for about 2 mins.
2.) Stir brown sugar & 1 c. flour into soymilk with wooden spoon. Dice 2 Tbsp. butter; allow to soften & stir into mix.
3.) Add remaining 1 1/4 c. flour & fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface & knead for about 5 mins., adding flour if necessary. (Dough should be smooth, but still slightly tacky.)
4.) Shape into a ball, & place in lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, & allow dough to rise for approx. 1 hr, or until doubled in size.
5.) Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F, & grease a large baking sheet.
6.) Punch dough to deflate, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface & divide into 6 pieces.
7.) Roll & stretch dough until approx. 30 in. long, holding ends & slapping the middle of the rope on the counter while stretching.
8.) Form each rope into a pretzel shape: make a "U" shape; hold the ends of the rope & cross them over each other once; then, press the ends into the bottom of the "U" to form the pretzel.
9.) Dissolve baking soda in 3 c. warm water, in a shallow baking dish. Then, gently dip each pretzel into the solution & arrange on prepared baking sheet.
10.) Sprinkle pretzels with Kosher salt & bake until golden (10 - 12 mins.)
11.) Melt 6 remaining Tbsp. butter in shallow dish, dip hot pretzels in it, & place them on a wire rack, allowing excess butter to drip off.
12.) Top with seasonings of your choice (ex: garlic/onion powder), & serve with mustard, if desired.
*Hint: When measuring the dough (while stretching it), use a 30 in.-long piece of plain dental floss as your guide re: length.
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