Crunchy or Chewy ……
First off, HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! Sorry that today’s recipe isn’t going to be green. 😦 I think I got kind of burned out on St. Patrick’s day as a kid. My mom lived for that day I think. Her favorite color is green, and her favorite meal is corned beef and cabbage, so there you have it. She would make everything green Kool-Aid, Jell-O, milk, bread, cookies… yes, you read that right, bread. Its pretty hard for any kid to eat bread that is green. It just shouldn’t ever be that color! And she always served corned beef and cabbage. I love, love, looooved that meal, but since I no longer eat meat, it would just be cabbage. I can eat that any time of the year. 😉 But for all of you who are cooking up some “bubble and squeak”, or drinking a green beer, “Cheers!”
Today’s recipe is more of an any time recipe. Our son loves pretzels and eats quite a few of them. I ran out of them one day and decided to try my hand at making my own. I hate to say, he didn’t care for them, just like he prefers store bought bread over homemade, but any other kid on earth would probably love them. I really like them. You can make them soft, or crispy. When you bake them soft they remind me of tiny little bagels, or the soft pretzels you get at the mall, but I like them crispy as well. These are cheaper, and healthier, than store bought, you really can’t lose.
If you have issues with getting yeast dough to rise, like I do half the time, you are going to love this recipe. This recipe is YEAST FREE! This also works for those who have yeast allergies. Total win. You also don’t need to let the dough sit as long. It will rise a little bit the first time around, but the second sitting it just to allow the gluten to form and the dough to rest. Compared to a four hour turn around with yeast dough, this dough only takes about 90 minutes. Less than half the time, and just as tasty. I just want you to take note that even though the process looks long and tedious, it is really very simple. The more you make the less time they take! (If you aren’t as OCD about your cooking as I am let the kids jump in and help!)
There really isn’t much to this dough. But the process of making the pretzels before you bake them can seem tedious. The more you make them the faster you will become. The shape you choose to make them is completely up to you, but I found that found was the easiest. I almost felt like I was making cheerios. I can’t imagine doing that! The amount of dough it takes to create a single pretzel is very small, about the size of half of a chocolate kiss. Roll it between the palm of your hands like you would do when you played with Play-Doh as a kid and were making little snakes. Wrap it around your pointer finger and you have a pretzel. (You can make them in any shape you want, or even make them bigger.) Form the entire batch before you boil them or the process can get crazy, trust me. When you boil the dough keep the water on a light simmer. If the water starts too cool the dough gets milky. Then they don’t cook the same. It really is just that simple!
If you like soft pretzels you just need to cook them for a little less time. Even when they are soft they are going to be dark brown, so don’t freak out and think that they are burning. When storing them be sure they are completely cooled first. If you cover them they may be chewy the next day if you didn’t cook them long enough. They still taste good, but if you like your pretzels crunchy, you will be disappointed. The size and shape of these little guys reminded me of Gardettos from when I was a kid. I did a batch using mustard and it gave them a slight tang. (Both Dijon, and mustard powder work.) But if you like them plain, they are just as good that way. I see a sweet version coming your way very soon as well. 😉 Whether you eat them soft, or crunchy, with mustard, or plain, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Do you like soft, or crunchy pretzels?
What is your favorite flavor of pretzels?
Quick Mini Pretzels (Yeast Free)
By Angie Gouchenour
Makes 40 Pretzels
½ cup whole wheat flour (Plus some for dusting the counter)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Scant pinch of sea salt
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon HOT water
Dijon mustard or dry mustard (optional)
Sea salt for topping (optional)
2 cups of water +1 Tablespoon baking soday
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, sea salt, and hot water
Stir to combine (It will be sticky)
Cover and keep warm for 30-45 minutes (Until it is slighty puffy. It will NOT double) (I set mine in the microwave)
Lightly flour the counter and dump the dough out. (It WILL be sticky)
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is no longer sticky and forms a nice smooth ball
Return the dough back to the bowl (unless it is all yucky and then get a clean one) cover and allow to rest another 20 minutes in a warm place
Now comes the fun part. Making the pretzels. You can make them any shape you choose, any size you choose, I opted for round, and the size of my pointer finger. *See notes above.
Preheat the oven to 425’f
Place all of your formed pretzels onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Bring the 2 cups of water and 1 Tablespoon of baking soda to a boil in a medium pot, keep it at a low simmer
Drop 8-10 pretzels in at a time and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. You will see them puff
Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them back on the parchment paper
If you are choosing to enhance them with mustard now is the time, just spread, or sprinkle, it over the top of each one then salt
If you are baking them plain you can either just sprinkle them with salt, or leave them plain
Place them in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes
Remove them from the oven when they are cooked to your chewy/crunchy preference and allow to cool before storing. (If they make it that far, they are so yummy!)