A Quick Note....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Breadmaking is on hold but not forgotten due to a sudden family emergency. I'll be back soon, and I'll catch up on the loaves I'm behind on. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading, and your lovely comments.

Pretzel Pizazz!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ok I admit it.. It totally wasn't fair to tempt you with tasty homemade pretzel facts and history without giving you any other pretzel outlet. It just wasn't right of me. I know it doesn't make things any better, but the reason the tasty pretzels have not made their way onto my blog is that most of my week has been like this, but maybe not quite so cute.

funny pictures of cats with captions

I did however, last weekend have a great time making and tasting pretzels with the boy, and our friend biscuit boy. Pretzels are a little more complicated than bread, but I am determined to see how far I can take this poor man's kitcheaide mixer idea.

Our cast of characters for the basic pretzel.

Oh look, it's the return of Lil'Milk. He always brightens my day.

The recipe which I found at The Fresh Loaf:

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon malt powder or brown sugar
2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour (I substituted wheat flour in for half of the regular flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave) 

So the first thing to notice is that the milk is indeed suppose to be warm this time. Not tepid, like the french bread recipee, warm. So the milk took a little trip in the microwave for abut a minute. Weeeeeee, round and round it goes... but I digress. It might have helped that the sound of Wii Super Hula Hoop was coming from the other room as the boy and biscuit boy took turns.

I had all intentions of using this recipe as is for the first time around, but that didn't happen as I discovered I was also running low on regular non-bread flour. So I split it half wheat flour, half regular all purpose flour.

All the ingredients found there way into the bread machine, liquid first, and then dry. Of course don't' forget to make your yeast volcano. Set the machine to the dough setting, and while it mixes clean up that big ol'mess I know you just made.

I have to say I was more fascinating with watching what happens in the machine itself. Especially once I discovered you can lift the lid while the machine continues to cycle without interrupting it. Now this probably isn't the best idea to do during the rising time on the pretzels or bread, but is just fine to do while it's mixing. We hung out in our hang glider stood on the step stool and watched from above.

Let the machine take itself through the entire dough cycle. You should have a nice lovely risen chunk of dough by the time you're done. This recipe makes about 6 full sized pretzels, so divide your dough into 6 even doughballs.


 Now it's time to start rolling. Spray the clean counter with Pam. Lightly cover the surface in oil so the dough doesn't stick. If you roll the dough, and then let it rest for a minute, and then roll again you'll be able to stretch them in to nice long strips, go for about the width of a finger, preferably one of your skinner fingers. :)

Upon first roll:

 Upon second roll:

Now the fun begins! Begin shaping your ropes into a pretzel shape. Keep in mind as you shape that the pretzels will almost double in size, so leave lots of room in between the loops.

Bavarian pretzels are first boiled in a lye bath, which  gives them a nice shiny coating. You can get a similar effect without the lye. Take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and boil it in about 4 cups of water. Boil each pretzel in this bath for about 30 seconds.

So while I was doing this, I got this great idea. Pretzels and beer taste great together. I've eaten other things boiled in beer and they were very tasty. What would happen if I boiled a pretzel in beer and then baked it? I decided to try it out. I sacrificed a bottle of this.

What a happy looking pretzel!

Come on, you'd want to be that pretzel if the water wasn't boiling, and you know you weren't going to get eaten. If you were a pretzel, this would be the top shelf wouldn't it? Next came, the fun part! Getting with the toppings. I chose to try one of each of the following: Pepitas (green shelled pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, coarse ground salt, cinnamon and splenda that I mixed equal parts in a bowl and spread on top,  sesame, and the beer boiled I left the top plain.

The oven preheated to 425, I baked them for 15 minutes. They came out delicious looking! By this point biscuit boy and the boy were hovering waiting for pretzels. I made them wait while I took a photo.

See the sad little pretzel in the center? The one that looks kinda naked compared to it's brown, crusty, delicious looking friends? That would be the beer boiled pretzel friends. It had the smell of beer, but overall it was the least favorite of the batch. Sadness, next time I'll just drink the beer.

Sesame and sunflower were both tasty, as was the salt. By far the favorites were the cinnamon sugar, and the pepitas. The pepitas roasted nicely on top and gave a nice nutty flavor. the cinnamon sugar, well it speaks for itself. These pretzels went under great scrutiny, as the boy, biscuit boy and I all gathered around a table and enjoyed all of them bite by bite!

Don't worry, even though I haven't blogged quite yet about the bread I made this week I did make some. In fact, the lonely over-ripe bananas may have found their way into my bread machine.

Grow Your Own Round-up: Urban Breadmachine featured!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just wanted to thank  House of Annie for adding me for her grow your own round-up. They featured my Rosemary Loaf that I blogged about on New Years.  Check out House of Annie for all the neat ideas of things you can grow yourself, and fun recipes you can make with your harvest.

The main ingredient in the bread was rosemary from the garden the boy tends (thought I help a little now and then). If you'd like to hear more about the process of some of the things we're growing and prepping ourselves, check out the boy's blog Growing, Eating, and Preserving Local Food in the ATL. Right now most of the garden is dormant, but he's prepping it for the soon to come growing season!

More to come on the pretzels. I know I'm leaving you hanging with just a taste of the history without some fresh pretzels to drool over. The next new loaf also to come this week!

Urban Breadmachine Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino