Friday, October 5, 2012

Soft Pretzel Pinterest Comparison Winner is...

I am a huge fan of soft pretzels. So for my first Pinterest Comparison Contest I chose Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipes.

 Here are the 5 contestants: 

Pretzel # 1 -
                          I love that she added the rosemary. It adds a little something extra.
Pretzel # 2 - Pretel 2 -
                                                                  A great basic recipe
Pretzel # 3 -
                         This one added an additional 1/2 cup of sugar to the dough.
                    So if you are watching what you eat, this is NOT the pretzel for you.
Pretzel # 4 -
                                                           A great basic recipe
Pretzel # 5 -
and the Winner is ......... Pretzel #5

When it came down to it. with minor differences # 1 , 2 , 4 and 5 are pretty much the same recipe. But # 5 went beyond the basic. You can have your regular pretzel with salt or you can choose to add cinnamon & sugar. Yumm

 here is the recipe for our winning pretzel.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe by Alton Brown, variations by Our Best Bites   WINNER
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast (I used rapid rise yeast)
22 oz all-purpose flour, about 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
optional: additional melted butter and cinnamon-sugar
optional: powdered sugar, milk, melted butter for dipping
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour (tip: don’t add all the flour at once, just in case you don’t need it all.  Reserve a small amount and add as needed for a soft dough) and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, scrape the bowl clean and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. If you’re making pretzel “bites” put in as many as will fit without crowding.  Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula (a metal spider works great). Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt or kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Cinnamon Sugar Version: Prepare as directed but don’t sprinkle with salt before baking.  Immediately after removing pretzels from oven, brush with melted butter and toss in a bowl of cinnamon-sugar.
Cinnamon Sugar Dippers:  Instead of shaping pretzels into the traditional shape, roll dough into ropes and cut into 1-2 inch pieces.  Continue preparing as recipe instructs, brushing with butter immediately after removing from oven and tossing in cinnamon sugar.  Create a dipping glaze by mixing about a cup of powdered sugar with 2-3 tablespoons melted butter and then add milk as needed, whisking until smooth.  Serve warm.

Keep an eye out for the cheese sauce comparison coming soon. You can't have a soft pretzel without the cheese now can you. 

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