I like to cook. I like to bake. I find it relaxing and stress reducing to spend time in the kitchen creating good foods from raw ingredients. The more that I cook, the less I find myself satisfied with commercially prepared foods.
That's not to say that I don't enjoy eating out. I LOVE me some eating out, especially in certain restaurants. Heh.
One other thing about cooking my own stuff - I can control what's in it. Less sugar, more organic, more "real" ingredients and less junk. Such was the case when I bought a bag of flour and noticed a recipe on the back for Soft Buttered Pretzels. One of the items on my "must try to create" list, along with bagels - next week's project.
So I enlisted the help of my kids, and we got to work adding another entry to the "fun" poster.
We mixed, we stirred, we left the dough to rise while we hung out in the pool (the pool which registered 94 degrees. Somehow, when a pool is that hot, it loses a little bit of the "refreshing" factor.) When we came home, we got busy.
We cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. The recipe said 12, but apparently I can't read.
We braided the dough.
We boiled the dough in water with baking soda added - a step which supposedly helps to create a chewy texture and gives the pretzels a shinier appearance.
We baked them - in the BRAND NEW OVEN (future post coming SOON!)
and then we enjoyed.
Some are slightly more done than others due to a combination of It's an hour past bedtime/two little girls screaming mean words at each other/locking each other out of the bathroom/elbowing each other/tears/hysterics/sobbing/Daddy yelling/Mommy leaving the oven to try to calm the raging fires and oops, the timer went off about three minutes ago and there's no way I can get in there.
3.5 cups flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 package yeast
1 cup water
1 T shortening
6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 T butter, melted
Pretzel salt, sesame seeds or poppy seeds (we didn't use)
Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Blend well. Heat one cup water and shortening (we used butter) in a small saucepan to 100-110 degrees. Add liquid to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened. (We did it by hand - more involvement with the kids this way.) Beat 3 minutes at medium speed, stirring in an additional 1.5 - 2 cups flour until dough pulls away from sides of blow. Knead in an additional 1/4 - 1/3 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled, about 45 minutes. (We left it for 4 hours.)
Spray 2 cookie sheets with no stick spray. Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into 16 inch ropes and form in pretzel shapes. (we did lots of different ones.) Place on greased cookie sheets and cover. Let rise in warm place about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 400. Combine 6 cups of water and baking soda in a shallow sided saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly drop pretzels into water, one at a time, cooking 15 seconds on each side. Remove from water with slotted spoon, return to greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with pretzel salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Bake for 8 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Bake an additional 2 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and brush generously with remaining butter. Serve warm.
And eat for breakfast while you paint in your Thanksgiving Indian Headdress and unders.