Friday, August 1, 2014

Paula Deen's My First Cookbook: Homemade Pretzels

This recipe is not as complicated as it looks at first glance, I promise, even though I was making them, and said to Dennis about halfway through, "I don't want to do this anymore!"

All whining aside, these are really good, and not as hard as you'd think.

I did look up a YouTube video on how to twist pretzels so they look like...pretzels, but then decided learning how to twist pretzels wasn't on my agenda for that particular evening, so instead, mine look more like pretzel knots.

That's OK, though, because they're delicious.  Seriously amazing pretzels.  So take a few hours on a weekend and try these out.  They're worth it.

Homemade Pretzels
Makes 18-20 pretzels
From Paula Deen's My First Cookbook


1 package dry yeast
1 stick butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt, plus more for use as topping
1 cup whole milk
5 cups flour, plus extra for kneading

Place 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl, then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Stir it well, then let it sit for 10 minutes.  (It's OK if it gets all gloppy and sticky and weird at first.  That's what happened to me, and the pretzels turned out fine.)

Put the butter into a small pot.  Melt over low heat, then measure out 1/4 cup and set aside to cool. 

Separate the egg white from the yolk.  Put the white in a small bowl and set in the fridge for use later.  Put the yolk into a large bowl and mix with the sugar, salt, cooled 1/4 cup butter, milk, and yeast mixture.  Stir until well-blended.

Add the flour to this mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each cup.

Once all the flour has been added, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter.  (NOTE:  My dough wasn't terribly sticky, so I didn't need extra flour at all through this process.  Your mileage may vary, though.) 

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes by hand, until it's not sticky (if it was to begin with).

Spray the inside of a large bowl with either cooking spray or olive oil (I used olive oil).  Put the dough in the bowl, and turn it so it all gets greased.  (I actually sprayed some olive oil on the dough itself to help things along.)

Put a clean towel over the top of the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F and either spray a cookie sheet with olive oil or cover in aluminum foil.

Divide the dough into 20 parts of roughly equal size.  Roll the dough into a rope and shape your pretzels into whatever shape you want.  (Or knots, if that's what you're into.)

Brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg white you stashed in the fridge.  Sprinkle each pretzel evenly with salt.  

Bake the pretzels for 15 minutes, or until they're light brown.

After removing the pretzels from the oven, brush the tops with the leftover butter in the pan.


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