Celebrating the Pretzel

Celebrating the Pretzel
History of the pretzel is storied.
According to acclaimed pretzel vendor, Snyders of Hanover…legend has it, that a young European monk created the doughy twists from Lenten unleavened bread.
The twist was to depict a prayerful stance–since ancient Christians prayed with their arms folded across their chests.  This doughy creation was named “pretiola” ( Latin for “little reward” )…thusly evolved into “pretzel” and in following centuries became a treat for good luck, long life and prosperity.
Americana is also steeped in history.  Forefathers and colonial settlements. The first commercial bakery vendor was a small Pennsylvania town circa pre-Civil War times. snydersofhanover.com/History/HistoryofPretzels
Actually, the pretzel-making process can be an arduous endeavor requiring yeast rising dough.
While the history of hard pretzels attributed a baker
over-baking…and surprised by the crunchy flavor.
Trending these days are soft pretzels with savory mustards, or hard pretzels in piquant flavors.
Or crushed pretzels as pie crusts or toppings.
Pretzel rod creations can be a fabulous gastropub treat presented in our Fry Cone
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great menus.
As for classic soft pretzels…
New York Pretzels
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pretzel salt*
NOTE:  pretzel salt is available at King Arthur Flour (800-827-6836)
Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with
1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes.
(Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels). Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)
Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them
1 1/2 inches apart. Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil. Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining
5 pretzels in 2 batches. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes.
Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.
Or this simpler effort…
Buttery Soft Pretzels
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.
Classic Honey Mustard Sauce
Be crafty…infuse cherries, berries or other savory morsels for extra dazzle.
2 1/2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup bottled clam juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 cup whipping cream
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add clam juice, wine and mustard seeds. Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add cream. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes. Mix in Dijon mustard and honey. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, rewarm over low heat.)
Bacon Parmesan Pretzel Rods
Draft these savory pretzel rods.
Great for gastropub cone presentations too.
10 Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzel Rods
10 slices of bacon
1 c. Parmesan cheese
Wrap a slice of bacon around each pretzel rod. Place on a microwave safe dish covered with two layers of paper towels. Microwave for 2-2.5 minutes or until bacon is cooked to a golden brown. Carefully remove from oven and roll each pretzel rod in a plate covered with parmesan cheese. Stand upright for presentation.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
America’s leading source for restaurant menu covers
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