We Knead To Bake #8: Crunchy Hard Pretzels With Spicy Garlic & Herb Cheese Sauce & Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
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Ingredients
  • 1 3/4cups waterwarm (about 40C or 110F)
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 2tsps active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2cups all-purpose flour(a little more if necessary)
  • 2tsps salt*
  • 6cups water
  • 2tbsps baking soda
  • optional Eggwash (1 yolk + 2 tbsp water whisked together) –
  • Pretzel salt or coarse saltcrystals
Instructions
  1. You can knead by hand but it is easier with a machine. As always, I used the food processor. Put the warm ware, sugar and yeast in a bowl and mix. Keep aside for about 5 minutes or so until the yeast activates and becomes u201cfrothyu201d.
  2. Put this, the flour and the salt in the processor bowl and knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that is slightly sticky to touch, but pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough feels too wet add a couple of tablespoons of flour to get the required consistency.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and pace it in an oiled bowl, turning it to coat it well. Cover and let it double in volume. This should take about an hour or so.
  4. Deflate the dough, so that almost all the air is removed. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 12u201d by 12u201d square. Then using a pizza cutter divide the square into 36 smaller equal sized squares by cutting into six 2u201d wide strips both vertically and horizontally. The purpose of this exercise is to get 36 equal sized bits of dough!
  5. Now lightly oil your palms and your work surface. If you add too much of oil you will not be able to roll out the dough into u201cropesu201d. Flatten each square of dough and then roll it up as tightly as you can. Now place the u201crolledu201d bit of dough on your work surface and using your hands, roll it out into a uniform u201cropeu201d of about 15u201d length. It will be thinner than a pencil.
  6. You can leave them as u201csticksu201d instead of shaping them into pretzels. If you want them shorter, you can halve them. Remember baking time will differ depending on the shape of your pretzels. The baking temperature is the same whether you shape them into sticks or pretzels.
  7. If you would prefer to make pretzel bites then do not roll the dough out into a square. Just divide it into 4 portions and then roll each portion into a u201crope that is about 1u201d in diameter. Cut each rope into 1 1/2″ bits. Roll each ball into a long rope about 1u201d in diameter. Cut each rope into 1 1/2″ bits. Then proceed to boil them as given in the instructions below. Bake the pretzel bites at 210C (425F) for about 15 minutes.
  8. Shape it into a pretzel and place it on a greased plate or sheet. Working as quickly as you can, repeat with as many pieces of dough that you can bake as one batch while keeping the other bits of dough covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. It is better to work in batches to get better results. Place the shaped dough on the greased plate/ sheet leaving about 1/2″ space between them.
  9. First prepare your baking sheets. It is a good idea to line them with parchment paper which is lightly brushed with oil. This makes them easy to remove after baking and also protects your baking sheets from the soda solution.
  10. Now prepare the soda bath. Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a deep pan/ pot. Add the baking soda carefully. It will bubble up and froth a bit and then settle down. Using a slotted spoon or a spatula, gently slide about 5 to 6 pretzels, one at a time, into the bath. Let them cook on one side for 10 seconds. Flip them over and cook them for another 10 seconds. Do not cook them for more than 30 seconds in total, or your dough will become slimy.
  11. Shape it into a pretzel and place it on a greased plate or sheet. Working as quickly as you can, repeat with as many pieces of dough that you can bake as one batch while keeping the other bits of dough covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. It is better to work in batches to get better results. Place the shaped dough on the greased plate/ sheet leaving about 1/2″ space between them.
  12. First prepare your baking sheets. It is a good idea to line them with parchment paper which is lightly brushed with oil. This makes them easy to remove after baking and also protects your baking sheets from the soda solution.
  13. Now prepare the soda bath. Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a deep pan/ pot. Add the baking soda carefully. It will bubble up and froth a bit and then settle down. Using a slotted spoon or a spatula, gently slide about 5 to 6 pretzels, one at a time, into the bath. Let them cook on one side for 10 seconds. Flip them over and cook them for another 10 seconds. Do not cook them for more than 30 seconds in total, or your dough will become slimy.
  14. Remove the boiled pretzels with a slotted spoon and place them on the parchment lined baking sheets. If using the egg wash, brush it over the pretzels, and then sprinkle it with the salt.
  15. Bake them at 180C (335F) for 40 to 50 minutes until theyu2019re deep golden brown in colour and hard. Cool them on a rack and store them in airtight containers or they will become soft and chewy.
Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 36 hard pretzels.

Spicy Garlic & Herb Cheese Sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp flour

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp finely grated garlic or paste

1 jtsp red chilli flakes

1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1 tsp mixed dried herbs of your choice (I used oregano and basil)

Method:

Melt the butter over low heat, in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk to combine and cook for about a minute. Add the milk, while whisking, till you have a smooth sauce with no lumps. Now add the grated cheese and whisk till its melted and completely incorporated into the sauce.

Add the garlic, chilli flakes and herbs. Season the sauce with a little salt if you need it. Let it cool. Stir occasionally to keep it smooth. Serve with the Pretzels.

Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup American yellow mustard

1/4 cup honey

Method:

Put both the mustard and the honey in a small bowl and whisk together till smooth. Serve with the Pretzels.

These Hard/ Crunchy Pretzels are being YeastSpotted too!