This is the post I wanted to put up as a follow up of yesterday's Hard pretzels. Many of the members of the We Knead to Bake group had expressed that they preferred the soft pretzels and hence Aparna suggested that we follow the recipe already in her post from an earlier date. It was a simple recipe that many of us vouch for a keeper recipe. Everyone of us who had tried seemed to love their texture and taste.
It also was the family's choice, though they liked the hard ones the second time I baked them. we found that they kept well and tasted better the day after. However, the soft pretzels are best consumed fresh.
It was again a weekend agenda when the daughter was willingly helping in shaping and taking pictures, making my workload less.
Without much ado, I shall share the recipe. I have tried Aparna's recipe which she in turn had adapted from My Recipes. She has taken time to read and share the information available on pretzels in her post. I skip that and request you to check her post for an interesting read. There are many recipes that use butter or eggs and this one has neither. Hence, you can still bake them even if you were short of such ingredients.
Soft Pretzels with Sesame seeds
31/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
For the soda bath:
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
For dusting the baking sheet:
1 teaspoon cornmeal or semolina
For the topping:
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
(she has used black sesame seeds also, but I did not want a very crowded top on mine, so did not use)
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm milk and allow the yeast to activate.
Meanwhile take the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk them together.
Once the yeast is frothy, add it to the flour mix and gather them in a dough.
Turn this on to a surface dusted lightly with flour. Knead into a dough that is smooth and elastic. It may feel a bit sticky. If needed add a little more flour. It takes about 8 to 10 minutes of kneading.
Transfer the dough , after shaping it in a ball, into a large oiled bowl. turn the dough in the oil to coat it with oil. Cover and allow it to rise until double in volume. This may take an hour or just slightly less.
To check if the dough has risen, gently press two fingers into it. If the indentations remain, the dough has risen sufficiently.
Turn it on to the work surface and deflate the dough, knocking much of the air out.
Cover again and rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough in 12 equal portions.Work with one portion of the dough at a time, while keeping the rest covered in a damp cloth.
Roll each portion into an 18 inches long rope with tapered ends. shape the pretzels as suggested in my previous post.
Keep the shaped pretzel dough on a tray that has been lightly greased and cover it to prevent drying.
Once all the pretzels have been shaped, keep them covered and allow to rise for 10 minutes. They do not rise much.
Prepare the baking trays with lining a sheet and lightly greasing the sheet on top. Sprinkle the semolina/ cornmeal on this surface.
Keep the 6 cups of water for boiling in a large utensil. When the water has come to a boil, add the baking soda. Allow the froth to settle and keep the water simmering.
Gently slide a pretzel dough into the water. Allow it to cook on one side for 15 seconds before flipping it quickly to the other side. Let this side cook for 15 seconds too. The pretzels will cook and swell. do not leave them in the water for longer as they may become very slimy.
Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them on to a wire rack that has been lightly greased with oil.
Repeat the procedure for all of the shaped pretzel dough.
Place them on the prepared tray. While keeping the oven to preheat to 220 Degrees Centigrade, brush the top of the pretzels with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
Bake for 12 minutes or until the pretzels are deep golden brown.
Remove the baked pretzels and cool them on wire racks.
Serve them with a dip of choice or fresh and plain.
This recipe makes 12 pretzels.