Sunday, December 1, 2013

Soft Pretzels, 2 ways - Avid Baker's Challenge

I'm no connoisseur of soft pretzels having had them only a few times during visits to New York City so I went into December's ABC challenge with few expectations. 
The recipe for Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels comes from the King Arthur Flour website, from which the Avid Bakers have been baking throughout 2013. The dough was easy to make, soft and slightly sticky, and after a brief rest was ready for shaping. As usual, the King Arthur blog provided excellent photos of the whole process. I was happy to see that the pretzels needed only a brief soak in a baking soda solution rather than a dip in a pot of boiling lye!!
Soft Pretzels
Though my memories of pretzel eating are rather foggy, I do recall enjoying one filled with (American?) cheese so I decided to make a few, flattening the long ropes of dough, sprinkling grated sharp cheddar cheese down the centre and pinching the dough closed around it before the final shaping.
Cheese-Filled Soft Pretzels
I sprinkled all of the pretzels with a little coarse sea salt and added sesame seeds to the plain ones before baking. Since I have an aversion to adding butter to cooked foods - I know.....my family thinks I'm strange too ;) - I skipped that step when they emerged from the oven but wished I had used an egg white wash before baking to give them a nice, glossy finish....next time. 







The pretzels had a very fine, dense crumb with a nice, chewy texture but were still incredibly soft. They were really very good, especially dipped in some maple mustard.











I was quite impressed that it was only about one hour from start to finish before we were enjoying, warm, freshly baked pretzels, practically instant gratification for a yeast-raised item ;).


Visit here to see what the other ABC members thought of them. 
The members have voted and the results are in: we will continue to bake from the King Arthur Flour website in 2014. Can't wait to see the recipe selection for the new year.

11 comments:

  1. Ooooh cheese! Yeah, that would have tasted good :o) Nice job!

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    1. Thank you, Hanaâ. I did prefer the cheese over the plain.

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  2. They look so good. Love the cheese filling.

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    1. Thanks, Sunita. My family and I loved the cheese also.

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  3. What a special idea to fill them with cheese. Great looking pretzels!

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  4. Very nice looking pretzels. But after reading all your posts, I feel I better stick with my old recipe, if I make them at all (they are not my favorites.)

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    1. Thanks, Karin. My family really enjoyed them but I think it was their novelty that most appealed to them.

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  5. How clever with the cheese! Why didn't I think if that? =)

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  6. Your cheese filled pretzels sounds delicious and I love the crumbs!

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    1. The cheese filled ones were definitely the favourite!
      Thanks for stopping by Jeannie.

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