The Pretzel Stand

You know if this whole sales and marketing bit doesn’t work out in New York, I could always work at a hipster coffee shop.  Or maybe just start my own hot dog and pretzel stand. Although, there would be some stiff competition from the guys running the Halal trucks.  No really, I think they all work together and spread out over the city for complete domination.  But then, I could totally pull the “I’m from Southern California” charm bit.

Ok, the coffee shop idea probably isn’t the best since I work well on a schedule, with goals, and can’t really stick out the “do what you feel is best” free-flowing vibe all the time.  But I do think I’ve found my thing and hey, I’ve even broken free from the generic cookie mold.  My weekly recipes have been a big hit at work and now if I don’t bring something in, it’s like something is missing.

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I’ve never really been a huge pretzel fan, but that’s mostly because the sort you buy at theme parks or ball parks are tough and have probably been frozen and reheated too many times to count.  Don’t even get me started on movie theatre pretzels because I don’t know where those are hidden before surfacing to the warming drawers behind the register.

This was round two of making pretzels – the first being for the Super Bowl – and I have to say, the more times you make a recipe, the better it gets.  I learned some tips from the last batch and was quite impressed by this outcome.  Potential success factors might be due to the following:

  • Allowing the dough to rise for quite a long time (10am-7pm…oops.  This was mostly because I started the project and then was interrupted and out of the apartment for ages)
  • Tad bit of Greek yogurt for the extra oomph (not sure how this helped but whenever I add Greek yogurt to a recipe, I feel healthy)
  • Boiling for about 45 seconds – 1minute each
  • Baking for 13 minutes and fully allowing them to turn golden brown

I used this recipe as a back-bone and of course utilized the Kaitlin method of “add bits of this and that based on what you have in the apartment”.

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Ball Park Soft Pretzels

Ingredients
1.5 cups warm water (I used the hot tap water and let it sit a moment)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
~4.5 cups flour (+ extra for rolling)
2 oz unsalted butter, melted (+ extra for pan)
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
8-10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
Pretzel salt (or cinnamon)

Directions
1. Take a large bowl and combine the water, sugar and salt.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit until it begins to foam.

IMG_4547Before

IMG_4548After

2. Add the flour and butter and mix on low speed until fully combined.  Increase the speed and knead until the dough has become smooth and starts to pull away from the bowl (~4-5 minutes)

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3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then butter or oil it up, returning the dough to the bowl and covering with a towel. (*I left my bowl in the microwave as the kitchen can get a bit drafty in NYC’s winter/spring)

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4. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for about 50 minutes (or 9+ hours) until the dough has doubled in size.

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5. Preheat the oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cover with a light layer of oil/butter/coconut oil spray. Set aside.

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6. Bring the water + baking soda to a boil.  Meanwhile, place the dough on a lightly oiled counter (mistake – I used flour, which made the dough a bit too stiff) and divide into 8 or 16 portions (based on the size of pretzel you would prefer).  Roll each piece into a rope, turn it into a U.  As you hold the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press the ends into the bottom of the U to form the pretzel.

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7. One at a time, place the pretzels into the boiling water for about 30 seconds – 1 minute.  I waited until the pretzel bobbed up and rose to the surface before removing.

IMG_4560Notice the difference in size between the pre-boiled and post-boiled 

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8. Use a large spatula to remove them from the water and place on the baking sheet.  Brush the top of each pretzel with a egg mix (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water) and sprinkle with salt.  If you are going for a sweeter effect, look for cinnamon and sugar.

IMG_4559Yes, I even made a hippo pretzel.  

9. Place in the oven until dark golden brown, about 13 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving or demolishing 🙂

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13 thoughts on “The Pretzel Stand

  1. I would fully support your next endeavor into owning a pretzel stand. I’d be your first customer… Just saying.

  2. Mmmm joe made homemade pretzels not too long ago, too, and they were AMAZING!! Blew any other pretzel I’ve had out of the water, so now that’s all I’ll eat. Spoiled. Tis true 😉

  3. Pingback: Day in the Life | California Endless Summer

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