Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home-Made IS Better!

Hahaha! I have renewed my faith in celebrity chef abilities! This is important, especially after the Korova disappointment and my previous (mostly pre-blog) problems with Anna Olson recipes as well. Well, I knew Alton Brown wouldn't steer me wrong (or at least guide me wrong, since all my substitutions and results thereof are all my fault).

I had been on the search for a good hard pretzel recipe like the kind made by Pepperidge Farms (Goldfish-style) because (as I mentioned before) Andrew fell in love with the bites when we went stateside. Since we can't get them here (along with a gazillion other yummy things, I'm finding), I wanted to set out making my own "bites" that were a) healthier and b) better tasting than the packaged ones (which admittedly are quite tasty).

When I found Alton Brown's recipe online (after seeing his pretzel episode a couple times) I took it as a sign, and set to modify it as per my nutritional goals (i.e.: whole wheat flour, egg white instead of egg yolk) and my own personal tastes (I like what the baking soda bath lends to the dough). Personally, I think I succeeded. These are delicious - better tasting by far - not to mention healthy, llightly salty, super crunchy and best of all fat-free which means I CAN EAT THEM!!! Or, I could, but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared...

The photo I took was just for fun (oh yes, pretzel balls in a beer stein!) - it's actually one of my dad's from his (college, I think) days, he nicked it from their local pizza joint... my mom did the same, so we have 2. All I have from a restaurant is a couple coasters!

Hard Pretzels
Makes about 36 (.8-oz) servings
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package instant yeast
22 oz whole wheat flour
14 oz warm water
Water, for boiling
2 tbsp baking soda
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water (for wash)
Coarse pretzel salt

  1. Combine all the "dry" ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, stirring well.
  2. Add warm water, stir to combine, then knead for 6-7 minutes, until elastic.
  3. Place dough into an oiled bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 36 1-oz pieces (use a kitchen scale for dead-on accuracy if you like), and form into sticks, knots or whatever shapes you desire.
  5. Keep the dough you aren't working with under a damp towel.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Bring a half-filled pot of water mixed with the baking soda to a boil.
  8. Carefully add shaped dough 4-5 pieces at a time.
  9. Cook in simmering until they float, about 30 seconds - 1 minute.
  10. Remove from water and place on greased or parchment-liked baking sheets.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough.
  12. Brush pretzels with beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle with salt.
  13. Bake 50-60 minutes (for full 1-oz pieces) or 30 minutes (for "bite-size" pretzel balls).
  14. Cool completely, and store in a covered container.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 60.9
Total Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 8.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2.4 g

These are great nibbles, and ones I'm passing along to Bread Baking Day 13: 100% Whole Grains at Apple Pie, Patis, & Paté.

3 comments :

thehungryengineer said...

Yeah, AB rocks - I love a cook who explains *why* a recipe is prepared a certain way.

Your pretzels look great, by the way!

Maggie said...

I just made his soft pretzels last week with 1/3 whole wheat. They were wonderful. I want to try your version of his hard pretzels now.

The Diva on a Diet said...

These pretzels look soooo good! I can't wait to try them, especially since you've made them with whole wheat flour. Yay! Thanks for posting this, I'll let you know when I've had a chance to try them out.

Meanwhile, good luck with the back to school thing!

Cheers!