Thursday, October 15, 2009

Into the Pink Pretzels

I'm sorry for being away my foodie friends. You see...I've been busy. Not really with cooking or baking but with being an activist. You know I hate breast cancer; we've been over this before. Here. And here. A few other spots too.

For my most recent event I collaborated with the very talented Bruce Mayo, a local artist. He wanted to throw a bash for his 40th birthday and instead of gifts wanted to create a new batch of work and have them sold for breast cancer awareness. He knows of my passion and allowed me to pick the charity. I chose Keep A Breast because of the audience they target and their unconventional way of awareness. They are very unique. Just like me. Just like my mum.

By the end of the night Bruce had sold 21 of his 29 pieces and we had raised nearly $3000 to send to KAB. In the end I believe we will be around the $4000 mark. What a great event and a fun night!

Honestly these pretzels have nothing to do with the event or even breast cancer. What I can say is that these are perfect. I am throwing out my old recipe for soft pretzels and using this one. Absolutely delightful!

Soft Pretzels
Source: Alton Brown
Yield: 8 big fat pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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