I hope you are warm and happy and getting around safely in all the crazy weather. I think we Pacific Northwesterners have got the best of the lot, dry and frigid, so I won’t complain about my toes being in a permanent state of cold. Which also reminds me, the hubster brought home something nasty from the woodshed, tee hee, no not really, from somewhere virus laden, and has been battling a cold for a week. I was feeling a bit smug thinking my immune system superior and all the yoga I’ve been doing acting like a samurai defense system. Alas, I have been taken down a peg. My nose is stuffy and my throat a bright shade of crimson. Boo. I still practiced yoga this morning (there’s no stopping the challenge today!), and actually feel a tad better.
Anyhoo, I hosted a little Valentine making party last night with some of the ladies and made these pretzels. Truth be told, I’ve been on a bit of a pretzel bender. I’ve made a couple of batches, ordered them at restaurants (Gruner – you’re next! Sorry about the missing umlaut, too. I can’t make them here.), and gone to the mall just to feed my craving. As for these, they are pretty darn good: chewy, with a slight crunch, and super easy to make. The ladies and the hubster loved them, too. Double happiness! Or would that be triple?!
adapted from All Recipes
1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups warm water (110 degrees – it’s the magic number!)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons coarse salt
Dissolve the yeast, brown sugar, and salt in the warm milk and 3/4 cup warm water. Allow to sit until the yeast blooms and is slightly frothy. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about eight minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the surface. Cover and let rise for one hour.
Grease two full size cookie sheets, set aside.
Combine the 2 cups warm water and baking soda in a bowl with enough room for you to swish your hands.
Cut the risen dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope, about three feet long. If you leave it too thick, your pretzels will be more like rolls. Dip the rope into the warm baking soda and water mixture. Place on the cookie sheet, and twist into a pretzel shape. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 550 degrees for about 8 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Brush with butter immediately after removing from the oven. Remove to a cooling rack.
I recommend eating them as soon as they are cool enough to handle, served plain or with coarse ground mustard. They’d also be great sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, black pepper, or garlic. Come to think of it, I might add coarse ground pepper to the dough next time.