As you’ve all probably figured out, I love to bake. I make cupcakes or muffins probably every other week. If you show up at my house and there isn’t some sort of baked good you know I’ve either been very busy or very sick. But, for as much baking as I do, I’ve never tried baking with yeast. It always seems so complicated and unpredictable.
I’ve been craving soft pretzels for the past few days, so I decided today was the day to conquer my fear of yeast. I used Alton Brown’s recipe since he is some sort of food genius. Getting the yeast going was a little bumpy, so I’m glad I had three packets…all of which I used. One my first try I didn’t read the directions carefully and stirred the yeast. FAIL. Second try, I think the water was a little too warm because it didn’t foam at all, just thickened a bit. Third try the yeast got all clumpy and sank. So I used the yeast mixture from try number two.
I was a little excited to get to use my dough hook. Best invention ever! I just dumped everything in the bowl, turned it on and it was mixed and kneaded perfectly. I let the dough rest for 55 minutes, but it didn’t even come close to doubling in size. I decided to just go with it. I formed the pretzels, boiled them, covered them in egg wash and salt and threw them in the oven.
After about 10 minutes the smoke detector started going off and I had to run downstairs for the step ladder and figure out how to make it stop. I used the same technique everyone uses when they’re frantically trying to make it stop screeching…I knocked it off the wall. Problem solved!
When the timer went off I opened the oven and VOILA! perfect golden brown chewy delicious pretzels!!
There was just one teensy problem…they were stuck to the parchment paper…so my pretzels are now bottom less. Not terribly attractive, but still so good.
Two things I’ll do differently next time – Instead of using parchment paper I’ll just put them right on an oiled pan and I’ll keep an eye on them in the last three minutes because they cook really fast at the end.