Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Southern Style Soft Pretzels

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. 
-Maria Robinson
Sunset over our surrounding countryside
Across Ontario, children are on March Break.  When mistakenly calling it spring break, my children quickly corrected me.  It is not springtime yet...we still have lots of snow...and lots of ice...and did I mention lots of mud, too.   Even though the outdoors aren't promising warmer days...I decided to celebrate spring anyway...Canadian Style...indoors (to avoid the snow/ice/mud mix outside).  But again and again I found my mind drifting down to my own "March Breaks" in the south when I was younger...hmm...a bit different. 
 Alright, I have mentioned I miss grits....a very delicious southern food with lots of butter and salt.  And of course biscuits....a very delicious southern food with lots of butter and salt.  But there is a little lesser known southern treat that also has called me  from the land of Spanish moss and oak trees...The Pretzel.  You may not think that pretzels are a southern food.  And yes you can buy pretzels almost any where in the world.  But, a southern style pretzel is not like your ordinary has two very important ingredients...butter and salt.  
Because I can not travel to Florida today...I attempted my own version of a perfect southern pretzel.  My little nephew kept watching me...and repeatedly told me how much he hated pretzels.... I explained that he has never had a southern pretzel.  And when the results were pulled from the oven....and the first bite was had....he was all smiles.  I hope that you, too, will give them a try!

Southern Style Soft Pretzels
(adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

pretzel dough:
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour 
1 package active dry yeast ( or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons salt
pretzel topping:
1/3 cup melted butter (or so)
course salt
(also you will need salted boiling water for cooking the bagels in)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. 

2.  In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, oil, and the 1 teaspoon of salt till warm (120 -130 degrees F)

3.  Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture.

4.  Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds.  Then beat on high for 3 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour that you can.
5.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total).  Shape dough into a ball.

6.  Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of the dough.  
7.  Cover and let rise in a warm place till double in size (about 1 1/4 hours).

8.  Punch down dough.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Cover and let rest for ten minutes.
9.  Roll out dough into a 12 by 10 inch rectangle.  
In proper southern style (ie fancy dress) my little niece wanted to help me roll the dough
10.  Cut into about 20 strips.  Gently pull and shape each strip into a pretzel shape. See photos below. (My dough was a bit dry...but the end result was still nice)

11.  Carefully place pretzels on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake in a 475 degree oven for 4 minutes.

12.   Remove from oven.  Lower temperature in oven to 350 degrees F.
13.  Prepare your boiling salt water (ie about 2 Tablespoons of salt).  Lower the pretzels into the boiling water, three to four at a time.  Boil for 2 minutes, turning once.
14.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzels from the boiling water.  Drain on paper towels.  Let stand a few are still not done...just a few more steps...but it is worth it!!  

15.  Ok...this is the best part.  Place the pretzels back onto your greased baking sheet.  Brush them with melted butter.  Let rest a few seconds... and why stop there...brush again with butter...just like in the south.

16.  Sprinkle each buttered pretzel with coarse salt.  
17.  Bake again at 350 degrees F.  
18.  Immediately remove from baking sheet and let slightly cool on wire racks.


1 comment:

  1. Oh boy those look good! If you were across the street right now, I'd be knocking on your door hoping you have some leftovers! Enjoy the rest of your March break!