Okay so this is a re-post, it has been a really busy week for me and I thought that this is a recipe that people might have missed given that it was orignally posted a year and a half ago. The pretzels are super easy and extra delioush and just the thing to serve to your family when settling down to watch a movie this holiday season. Enjoy!
Happy Sunday Bread Heads!
If you have been making even a few of the breads in this series, then you have the chops to make great soft pretzels at home. One of the things that you hear from other on-line recipes is that you need special pretzel salt to really make a true soft pretzel. This is hogwash! A nice Kosher salt will still give you the salty counterpoint to the slightly sweet dough of the pretzel and you don’t have to search for it.
This recipe was originally from Alton Brown of the Food Network. I like the recipe he offered, especially the technique for giving the crust a nice shine and browning just right. However it was not quite what I was looking for. After a couple of years of trying this and that change, I decided that the pretzels needed a little darker flavor note.
Being of Irish descent, I of course turned to one of the most famous of the Emerald Isle’s export Guinness Stout. The beer gives a very slightly bitter overtone and makes the pretzels a wonderful dark brown when they are done.
So, let's bake!
Guinness Soft Pretzels
1 ½ cups Guinness Stout (open the night before and allow it to become flat)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) yeast
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
3 tablespoons (approximately) kosher salt
Pans: 2 sheet pans, lined with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper with cooking oil
In a microwave safe bowl or small saucepan, combine the beer, salt and sugar and heat to between 120 and 130 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow to sit for about five minutes, until it starts to foam.
In a large bowl or the work bowl of your stand mixer measure out the flour . Pour in the beer mixture and the melted butter. Using a wooden spoon or the dough hook attachment, stir the ingredients until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
If you are using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium high, and knead for 5 minutes.
If you are doing this by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead with a strong push-turn-fold technique. It will take longer by hand to get the dough to the lovely shiny and elastic state it needs to be in, about 10 minutes.
The dough will be the color of coffee with a lot of cream. It will be smooth and elastic with a slight sheen when it is done.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until the dough has doubled in volume, about 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how warm it is the day you are making this.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set your racks so they are in the middle of the oven.
In a large pot bring 2 ½ quarts of water and the baking soda to a boil.
While the water is coming to a rolling boil, turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface (Ha! You thought I was going to say lightly floured!). Divide into eight equal pieces. You can, of course, weigh each one to get them all exactly the same, or you can make it easy on yourself and just roll the dough into a cylinder, then cut it in half, cut the halves in half, then cut those in half. Bingo! Eight even pieces.
One at a time roll the dough pieces under your palms, slowly working outward from the center, until you have a rope 24” in length and about 1” in diameter.
To form the pretzel, make a U shape and then fold each of the ends over the middle. Don’t panic if it does not look like a pretzel the first time you do this, just take it apart and try again.
When you have a pretzel shape pinch the dough tightly where it overlaps in the center and at the bottom of the U shape. This will help to keep the pretzel together when you boil them.
Place the finished pretzel on one of the baking sheets. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.
Using a big spatula, boil the pretzels one at a time in the baking soda bath for 30 seconds. When you pull them out let them drip for a few seconds before returning them to the baking sheet.
When all the pretzels have been boiled, brush lightly with the egg wash. Part of using the Kosher salt is not letting it melt, so less is more when we working with the egg wash. Just enough to cover the pretzel , you don’t want any pools. Sprinkle lightly with the Kosher salt.
Slip the pans into the hot oven for seven minutes then switch the pans so the bottom one is on the top. This will allow you to get even browning. Bake for another 7 minutes or until dark golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack for at least five minutes, then devour!
These pretzels will be good for about two days, but do not store them in plastic. The plastic will make the salt melt and will ruin your lovely crust. Now crack open another Guinness and enjoy your homemade pretzels!
The flour is yours.