Posts Tagged ‘yeast’

Beer Pretzels

I’ve been pinning pretzel recipes on pinterest for a while now but never got around to trying them, then a friend passed me Taste of Home magazine and there was another pretzel recipe staring me down. I decided that the end of fall called for some homemade soft pretzels (and beer) so we could celebrate raking our final leaves in true fall fashion. The pretzels turned out very tasty, and they were EVEN more delicious on the second day when the soft pretzels were reheated. The recipe seems a bit daunting since it is long but the end result was tasty, so I’d say it’s worth the work!

Recipe was adapted from “Soft Beer Pretzels” page 71, Taste of Home Magazine September/October 2013.

Ingredients

1 bottle amber beer, or nonalcoholic beer
1/2 oz active dry yeast (1 packet if you buy them in packet form)
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 – 4 1/2 cups Flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Coarse salt

Directions:

Heat bear to 110 – 115 in a small pan and then remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1 – 1/2 tsp of salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat (medium speed) until smooth and then stir in flour until the mixture becomes a soft dough (it will be sticky!).

Turn dough down on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl (turn the dough over once to grease the top), cover with saran-wrap and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled – about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Punch dough down and turn on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 balls and roll each ball into a 14″ rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.

In a dutch oven bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels in two at a time and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the pretzels on a paper towel. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet (either use grease or parchment paper to “line” the sheet). Whisk egg and water in a small bowl and then brush that over each pretzel on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven.

Bake pretzels 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!! Again, reheated on day 2 (for about 15 seconds in the microwave) will also yield very delicious pretzels!

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Italian Semolina Bread

We were lucky enough to receive a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer for our wedding, and this was our first trial with it! The wedding was about 6 – 7 months ago and for this to be our first time using the stand mixer is a bit pathetic, but let me tell you, that thing is intimidating. Now that I have used it though, I can say that I am so excited to find the next recipe I want to make with it – it made baking and mixing SUCH a breeze. Enough about my stand mixer and onto the bread now! Also a wedding gift, we received Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois so this was clearly our day to dig out the gifts we hadn’t gotten to try out get and use ’em! This cookbook had lots of great bread recipes, but we were having Italian food for dinner and decided that Italian Semolina bread would be a great match, we adapted the recipe featured in that book to what is below. I definitely plan to make this bread again and think i will be trying some other recipes included in this book. Here goes for how to recreate this bread at your home:

 What I am posting will yield 3 slightly less than a 1-lb loaves

Ingredients:

– 1.5 cups lukewarm water
–  3/4 tbsp granulated yeast
– 3/4 tbsp Kosher salt (slightly heaping)
– 1.5 cups durum flour
– 1  7/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
–  2 tsp of sesame seeds
– Handfuls of cornmeal
– Cornstarch ‘Wash’ (1/2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 cup water)

Directions:

Mix the yeast and salt with the lukewarm water in a bowl, or lidded (not airtight) container. Mix in the flours without kneading, using a stand mixer with dough hook – Keep it on level 2 for mixing. Cover this mixture, not airtight and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top) which will take about 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, but it is said to be easier to handle when cold. You can refrigerate the dough in a lidded (not airtight) container for up to 14 days. To make the cornstarch wash: Using a fork blend the cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste. add 1/2 cup water and whisk with the fork and microwave (or boil) about 30 – 60 seconds until it appears glassy. This will stay in your fridge for about two weeks.

On the day you are baking (we did ours same day) dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a less than 1-lb piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. Elongate the ball to form an oval-shaped free-form loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered sheet for about 40 minutes.

You should heat your oven, baking stone and an empty broiler pan up about 20 minutes before you are ready to put the bread in. Pre-heat the oven to 450 F.

Just before baking paint the surface with the cornstarch wash, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and slash the surface diagonally with a serrated bread knife. Put the loaf directly onto the hot stone on top of more cornmeal and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes until deeply browned and firm.

One place we messed up was that the bread really stuck on the bottom to the hot stone. I don’t think we put enough cornmeal on the bottom of the bread or on the stone. Next time around we definitely plan to put more cornmeal onto the stone to prevent sticking. We loved this bread though and are excited to try it again. If you make it – enjoy!!

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