Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bread Machine Soft Pretzels

I'm a sucker for soft pretzels. I've made a few different variations, starting with a version with plain (unbleached all-purpose) flour, to strong white flour, to this version, with a 50/50 cut of wholemeal (wholewheat) and white bread flours. These are the softest I've made.

Use the 50/50 recipe given here for a healthier, slightly sweeter pretzel, perfect for cinnamon and sugar toppings, or tempered with a dash of kosher salt, or substitute your own bread machine dough recipe with your preferred mixture of flours.

You'll need:
Ingredients for dough
Extra oil/butter for keeping hands ready to work dough
25g of butter for brushing on pretzels, melted
1 tsp sugar dissolved in a shallow bowl of water
Coarse (kosher) salt (optional)
Toppings (optional)

Part 1: The Dough.

50/50 Wholemeal Dough (from recipe book for Panasonic SD-255; I recommend checking your manual for order instructions and recipes specific to your machine)

1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
275g (10oz) Strong Wholemeal (wholewheat) Flour
275g (10oz) Strong White Flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
340ml water

Put into bread machine in specified order and set to whole wheat-dough cycle and leave to finish.

Part 2: Baking Preparations
Note: You'll want to keep your hands oiled for this

Preheat the oven to 230° C (450° F).

After your bread machine has finished with the dough cycle, separate resulting dough into 8-12 rough balls. Let rest, uncovered, for five minutes. Keeping hands oiled, roll each into ~18in length, shape into pretzel shape (as you can see, it's hard to get them perfect with dough that rises this much, so I wouldn't worry too much about it). Dip pretzel into sugar-water and set on greased baking sheet (parchment paper works great, as well). You may want to shape all pretzels before dipping them into the sugar water, to keep your hands from diluting the flour and the dough sticking to your hands while you roll them.

Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt, if desired, and let pretzels sit for 10 minutes.

Part 3: Bake and Decorate

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges should be slightly golden brown (more pronounced if using white flour). Immediately take pretzels from oven and brush with melted butter. I usually put 2-3 coats on mine. If desired, sprinkle desired toppings (cinnamon and sugar is a favourite) on to pretzels and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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