Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pretzel Nuggets

One of the best things about malls is the pretzel shop. The smell permeates everything and it makes you crave one while you shop for unnecessary items. They are so soft, warm, buttery, and salty. Then you get the spicy cheese to dip them in and they are even more amazing. Sifting through recipes online I realized there are tons of recipes for these sinful twists. Having never made pretzels, I decided to start with this recipe for nuggets from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, a blog I frequent. I've used several recipes from her blog and you should probably spend some of your own time checking them out. These nuggets are practically perfection. The dough is easy to make, doesn't take much time to rise, is easy to handle, and produces the best texture for a pretzel. If you love pretzels and have an hour or so, you should probably try these out.

Time: 60-75 minutes
Yield: 3ish dozen depending on how big you cut them
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (fyi RapidRise is the same as instant)
1 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tbs baking soda
Salt (coarse or Kosher is best)
3 Tbs butter, melted

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl of a stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, this can be done by hand pretty easily with a wooden spoon and some hand kneading; it's very therapeutic.Give the powders a stir just to combine them.
This happened to be the yeast I had on hand but you can use an instant or RapidRise.
Getting it all together to meet.
 Add the warm water (I just blast the hot water on my tap) and mix it well. You might need to add extra flour to form a soft dough, but I never have had to. Knead it with a dough hook or by hand until your dough has formed and it is soft and not too sticky.
Knead for about 5 minutes.
 When your dough is ready, lightly flour it and stick it in a baggie that has room for the dough to expand.

Let the dough sit 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500F. You want it hot to help the nuggets get that beautiful golden color. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have them ready. If you don't have parchment paper, you should invest in some. Or just lightly grease the pans...I guess that works too.
Dump the dough out on a lightly-greased surface and stretch it out into 4 ropes of similar length and width.

I only have two because I only made half a recipe. The boy and I could eat a whole recipe, but we had already eaten dinner :)

Let the ropes sit for about 5 minutes. While they rest, dissolve the baking soda into the hot water. Use a bowl that the nuggets can be dipped into.
For this recipe I used too much baking soda so it didn't dissolve. That's why I suggest the cut in baking soda from the original recipe.

Cut the ropes into nuggets about 1" wide. I fail at cutting evenly so mine are never equal. It doesn't matter that much.You should get about 6-8 nuggets per rope.

Dip each nugget into the soda/water bath and place them on the prepared baking sheets. If you need to, re-stir the mixture between dips.

Sprinkle the tops with salt. As much or as little as you like. At this point I didn't have coarse salt...that has since been remedied!

Let the nuggets sit for about 10 minutes.'s finally time to bake!It's probably best to bake one sheet at a time, but if you have room in your oven, I would stick both pans in. I'm not always patient. Bake them for about 7-8 minutes or until they are nice and golden.

While they are baking, melt your butter. It's best to have it ready when the nuggets come out. Spread it all over them. If you have something against butter, you could skip this, but then I would have something against you. What kind of soft pretzel doesn't have butter?! Just do it!
That's it! Enjoy them as is, make some cheese dip, or skip the salt and roll them in cinnamon sugar. Do what you want, but you should make these regardless!

Look...they are glistening with butter....
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