Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels #BreadBakers

Whether soft or hard baked, a great pretzel is deep golden with a generous kiss of salt!

Whether soft or hard baked, a great pretzel is deep golden with a generous kiss of salt! These were made by my home ec class today. Great job! #yummy #yum #vegetarian #bread #baking #cheapeats #cheap #yeast #salt #pretzels #food

I have always loved pretzels. I'll eat them in any form - waffled, stuffed, sourdough, twisted, knotted, alphabet and even goldfish. However, my all time favourite form of this deep golden bread is soft and pillowy, with a light crusting of salt. A butter dip is definitely a bonus, but not a necessity. I've made my own pretzels before - gluten free and gluten-full - but they were both hard varieties, and I wanted to try my hand at making my own carnival-worthy snacks.

Soft pretzel making is very similar to making bagels - a relatively firm bread dough is shaped by hand, boiled (or in this case, basted) with an enhanced water solution and baked to deep golden brown perfection. The major differences between the two are the shape and the waterbath the dough is exposed to. While bagels are treated with honey-or malt-enhanced water (making it mildly acidic), pretzels are in an alkaline, baking soda baste. This gives them their signature flavour and crust. While usually a dip in the alkali bath is called for, I made these pretzels with my grade 1-8 Home Ec students and in the interest of timeliness and cleanliness I opted to brush the baking soda water over the risen dough instead. Both methods work and taste delicious, although the brushing does yield less even browning.

As for toppings, salt is always a great enhancement for pretzels but it is by no means the be-all-end-all option. Sanding sugar and cinnamon would be great for a sweet option, or coarse pepper, or even everything bagel seasoning. The options are endless!

This month, the #BreadBakers are making pretzels! There is a great range of options this month, from stuffed to sweet to sourdough and even saffron! Be sure to check out all the options below and say hi!
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Whole What Soft Pretzels
Makes 10

3.5 oz all purpose flour
9 oz whole wheat bread flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup warm unsweetened soy milk (soy milk leads to a better rise in my experience)

½ cup warm water
1 ½ tbsp baking soda
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

By hand:
  1. Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a sturdy spoon until a dough forms.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
In a mixer:
  1. Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead on medium low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
Shaping and Baking:
  1. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 450F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, greased foil or a silicone liner.
  3. Divide the dough into 10 pieces.
  4. Working one at a time, roll each piece of dough into a long rope and shape into a pretzel. Place onto the prepared baking sheets, 5 to each sheet.
  5. Whisk the warm water and baking soda in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. (It will not dissolve completely, and that’s okay!)
  6. Brush each pretzel with the baking soda mixture and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 9 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. 

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 128.2
Total Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 5.7 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 5.0 g

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