Thursday, January 31, 2013
I am not really a pretzel person. I never think to buy them or go out of my way to procure them, but when they are in front of me...watch out. I will indulge in their salty goodness, pretty much tuning out anything that is happening around me. I haven't had a soft pretzel in many many years. The only place I see them is at the mall and who knows what goes into those things. So I am going to share with you a simple recipe for soft pretzels. It may seem like a big effort when reading through the directions, but it really took little more effort than making bread. Super easy. Now I just need to make some vegan nacho cheese, should be easy too, I am thinking some nutritional yeast will be involved.
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 T vegan sugar, finely ground
3/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 c flour plus more for dusting work surface
2 T vegetable oil plus a bit extra for oiling dishes
2 T baking soda
*Optional toppings: Sea Salt, Black pepper, seeds, vegan cheese, etc.
1) In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, and 1 1/2 c. of hot water. Let rest for a few minutes. Add the salt, vegetable oil and the flour about 1/2 to 1 cup at a time.
2) Mix together and when the ingredients start to come together toss out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour or water if too sticky or dry.
3) Once you are done kneading the dough form it into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a clean towel and let rise in a warm and dry place for about an hour until the ball has doubled in size. Punch down the down and separate into 8 or 16 equal parts (done by halving each part repeatedly--it isn't an exact science), depending on how big you want your pretzels.
4) Take each blob of divided dough, one by one, and roll out into a "snake". Then form it into a pretzel shape (Make a U then bring in both ends and twist down) adhering the ends with a dot of water.
5) Meanwhile, in a very large skillet or saucepan, bring 4 1/2 c of water and 2 T baking soda to a boil.
Add each pretzel, one by one, to the water and boil for 45 seconds before flipping over (a spatula works well here) and boiling for 30 more seconds.
6) Place onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat until all pretzels have been boiled. Top with salt or sugar or vegan Parmesan---really whatever you like.
7) Place the cookie sheets into an oven preheated to 425 F oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden. Enjoy!
Alternative: I haven't yet tried this, but I imagine you could easily make stuffed pretzel bites by dividing the dough and filling it with anything (vegan cheese, peanut butter, etc.) and wrapping the dough around it like a tiny bun, then boiling. Let me know if you try this and it works.