Cinnamon & Sugar Pretzel with Caramel Dipping Sauce
Its been a bit crazy over here. Since June I've traveled to Minneapolis, then home, to Wisconsin, then home, to California, the home, and wrote my thesis proposal. Again, its been a bit crazy.
California is pretty
Pacific Coastal Highway
Anyways, now that things have settled down for awhile (or at least this weekend), I'm going to tell you about my homemade soft pretzels.
A few years ago, I saw Alton Brown make his own pretzels on his show Good Eats (amazing show!!!). I was surprised to learn about how the dark brown color is achieved on pretzels.
To get that traditional pretzel color, one must use a little chemistry. The brown color can only be accomplished by boiling the unbaked dough in water and baking soda. Something about the pH of the dough needs to be altered to get that dark coloring. If you really want to know more, watch the episode.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- 3 quarts water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Coarse sea salt
- Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. (Check the expiration date on your yeast. If its like mine and over a year past its prime, you may have to add a bit more. Also, store your yeast in the fridge but take it out a bit before using it to let it wake up a bit.)
- Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time (I had to use almost 5 1/2 cups of flour because of FL humidity).
- Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
- Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil.
- Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each.
- Roll each piece into a long rope and shape into the lengths or shapes that you want (sticks are easy and tasty). Keep in mind the dough will puff up again in the oven so thinner is probably better.
- Boil the pretzels in the water solution in batches. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon.
- Place pretzels on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching.
- Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt.
- Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
- Add additional toppings immediately after they come out of the oven. If you want, brush on some melted butter and roll the pretzels in cinnamon and sugar. Use caramel as a dipping sauce (this is heavenly!)
With cinnamon & sugar