This was my first venture with yeast, and I am happy to report that it wasn’t a complete disaster. I’m not sure it was a complete success either, I think my house was too cold for the dough to rise completely. I think I’ll have to try again, on a warmer day.
from Food Network magazine
1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tbs light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 tbs unsalted butter, diced and softened, plus a little more for buttering pretzels
1 tsp fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tbs coarse salt
1. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, for about 2 minutes.
2. With a wooden spoon, stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour. Stir butter into mix. Add the rest of the flour and salt, and mix into a sticky dough.
3. Lightly flour kneading surface and turn the dough out on it. Knead until smooth, but slightly still tacky, adding more flour, if necessary (5 minutes). Form into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm (this is key) spot for about an hour, or until is has doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it and turn back out onto lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece to make 30 inch ropes. Hold the end of each rope and twist into pretzel shape.
5. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups of warm water in a shallow dish. Dip each pretzel in the water, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and rub with butter. (FN mag called for waaaaay more butter, but to cut some of that, I did it this way.)
I might try these again, on a warmer day, and if I’m feeling really brave, I might even go for some cinnamon sugar!