I am not much of a baker. I enjoy eating baked goods, but the baking part not so much. I don’t want to know how much butter or oil you add to my brownies, or how much sugar goes into my chocolate chip cookies. The less I know the better. It’s like a McNugget. Do you really want to know what is in those delicious bite sized crunchy wonders? Absolutely not. When I bake I tend to cut the sugar and butter quantities in half. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter. Oh my that is a lot. Let’s try 1/4 cup. My cookies come out tasting like flat muffins. My muffins come out tasting like very bland bread. Low fat, low sugar dessert anyone? I think it is best that I stay away from baking.
Being adventurous I decided to try my baking skills, or lack thereof, in making pretzels. I found a recipe that got a lot of good reviews on allrecipes.com. Time to make Mall Pretzels.
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/8 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.
- Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.
Well the pretzels came out a lot better than I thought they would. Thank you to my sister for helping me make the pretzel shapes. The circular bagel looking ones are mine. Quite unimpressive next to the beautiful pretzel shaped pretzels. In making them I completely forgot to add the salt to the yeast mixture. Not a problem, because I thought I could add some salt to the melted butter mixture I was going to spread on the pretzels after they are done baking.
The pretzels were okay. A little bland tasting. The texture of the pretzels were good though. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I think adding some salt into dough would have been better. Also more sugar into the dough. We were all out of raisins so I had to settle for craisins. Next time I will try making cinnamon raisin pretzels. I think the cinnamon would help the pretzel taste more flavorful and definitely less bland.
The baking soda bath that each pretzel got is suppose to give it that nice golden color. Each pretzel got a nice baking soda bath, but they did not come out as golden as I would like. If I were to do it next time I would individually brush a more potent baking soda mixture onto each. I want them to be as golden as the ones in Auntie Anne’s!
Baking not fail, but not success. I think me and baking are not meant to be. I should just stick to cooking. Cooking adventures to come.