Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homemade Pretzels

More bread backlash from my low-carb diet. I know I made a big fat deal about really kicking the low carbs into high gear and knocking off these last (in my mind) ten pounds, but it's really not working. I'm getting to the gym just about everyday and not snacking a whole lot, but I'm not completely passing up the bagels or a sandwich every now and then. And this baking bender I'm on is not helping either. But I am definitely maintaining - and that's a good thing. A really good thing. I'm just about a year away from when I started (I mean really started) this weight loss journey and I still feel like 33 - 35 pounds is a pretty good thing.

So on to my latest experiment - pretzels!! You know - those big, soft, salty pretzels meant for dipping in mustard or cheese. The kind you get at a carnival. I was really in the mood for the kind you get at the mall (a little more buttery and soft), but I decided to lay off of all that butter. So my pretzels definitely weren't low carb, but they were low fat. And quite delicious. A couple of kids, a husband and a neighbor (and, ahem, the cook) gobbled 'em up in no time.

I'm going to keep looking for another recipe I like better, but this one was pretty good. I couldn't get a good photo of the texture on the inside, but it was very soft with little bitty airpockets. While I made mine in the cute little pretzel shapes above, my kids enjoyed making them in fish and heart shapes too. And instead of salt on a few, I put cinnamon sugar.


4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup baking soda

4 cups hot water

1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

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