Soft Pretzels, Phanatical in Philly
Posted: 10/15/2011 Filed under: Bread, recipes, snacks | Tags: baking, dough, pretzels, recipes, snacks, soft pretzels, yeast, yeast dough
The first thing I did when I got off the plane on my most recent trip to Philadelphia, was high-tail it to the soft pretzel vendor right there in the airport. My husband Neil and I hadn’t eaten on the cross-country flight, and the two of us had been contemplating biting into a soft, chewy Philly pretzel. We were not disappointed.
It’s funny how different cities are known for certain foods. New Orleans is known for muffulettas, Chicago made famous the deep-dish pizza, and New York is credited with inventing the egg cream. And Philadelphia, well Philadelphia is not just known for its cheesesteaks and hoagies, but also for the soft pretzel. (Nothing low-calorie comes out of Philly.) It’s tradition in Philadelphia to eat your pretzel with mustard, so that’s how I do it.
When I returned to Los Angeles, I was still having pretzel cravings. So, I decided to pull out one of my favorite recipes and make the family a batch of homemade pretzels. They were not disappointed.
From Cooking Light , October 2005
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
- 3 cups plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour – divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cooking spray
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- cornmeal for sprinkling
- 1 large egg
- kosher salt
1. Dissolve yeast and the sugar in warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer and let stand for five minutes.
2. Add three cups flour and 1 teaspoon of salt to the yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. In the electric mixer using a dough hook, mix the dough on low speed for about 7 minutes until a smooth, elastic dough forms, adding the additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. (You can also knead the dough by hand for 8 minutes.)
3. Put the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning the dough to coat it. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft-free spot for 40 minutes until doubled in size. Punch dough down: cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. I used a scale to weigh my portions of dough, each was about 80-85 grams. You should end up with about 8-9 pretzels.
5. Working with one portion at a time, (cover the remaining dough so it does not dry out) roll each portion into an 18-22 inch rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of the rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at the end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet that has been coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with plastic (that has been lightly sprayed) and let rise for 10 minutes.
6. Combine 6 cups of water and the baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven or stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into the simmering water; cook 15 seconds. Using a slotted spatula turn the pretzel over a cook on the other side for an additional 15 seconds. Transfer the pretzel to a wire rack that has been coated with cooking spray. Repeat this process with the remaining pretzels.
7. Whisk the egg and a teaspoon of water together in a small bowl. Brush a thin layer of the egg mixture over each pretzel while they are still on the rack; sprinkle with the Kosher salt. Bake at 425 degrees F for 14-19 minutes until pretzels are golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.