Saturday, November 13, 2010


Makes 8 pretzels


1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 TBSP light brown sugar
3/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed (I used olive oil)
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Simmering Liquid:

2 quarts water
1/4 cup amber beer
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
vegetable oil
2 TBSP coarse sea salt

Make the dough:

- In a measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water and let sit for 5 minutes, or until cloudy. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, sugar, and vegetable oil and mix well.

- Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the liquid mixture and knead until smooth.

- Brush a large bowl with vegetable oil. Scrape out the dough and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

- Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and brush with oil. Lightly oil your work surface and your hands. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and press into a 6-inch square. Cut into 1 1/2 by 3 inch rectangles. One at a time, shape each piece into a pretzel. (Cover the pieces you aren’t working on with plastic.) Roll each piece out into a 24-inch long rope. Shape into a U, then crisscross the ends halfway up, twist them together like a twist-tie, and pull the legs down over the bottom of the U. Place the shaped pretzels onto the lined baking sheets. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until not quite doubled.

- While the pretzels are rising, place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the parchment the pretzels are on into squares to facilitate lifting and transferring the pretzels into the water bath.

- In a 10-inch-wide stainless-steel pot, combine the water, beer, baking soda, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Two at a time, lift the parchment square with pretzel and carefully reverse the pretzel off the parchment into the simmering water. Cook for 10 seconds and flip, using a skimmer or slotted spoon. Cook for another 10 seconds, and with the skimmer, lift above the pan to drain. Then transfer back to the baking sheets, rounded sides up. Brush with vegetable oil. Dust with coarse salt.

- Bake, switching the sheets from top to bottom and rotating from front to back halfway through, for 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are chestnut brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Be sure and check the bottoms, mine got a little toasty!

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