January 7, 2015

Homemade Pretzels

When you hear the name "Glitter Ball" what do you think you are being asked to go to? I have to admit when we were first asked to go to the Glitter Ball with our friends I thought for sure that the we were being invited to an actual "Ball". You know one where you get dressed up in gowns you will probably never wear again....WRONG....the Glitter Ball has nothing to do with fancy gowns and suits. Its one crazy costume party hosted by the Australian Club here in Dhaka. It's the type of party where you come up with a theme for your table and dress up, possibly even do a skit/performance and if you are lucky win prizes.

The biggest challenge with the costume/theme is that you want your table to be noticed and you want to have an idea that no has done before. A lot harder then you think! One couple in our team attended the 2013 Glitter Ball so thankfully they were able to fill us in on some of the ideas people had before us. Last years winning team did a KISS performance! This year there was a team dressed up like characters from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and did an awesome performance.  So much fun!!

Here is my 2014 Glitter Ball team/theme:

So with our theme we decided we had to have something to go along with our costumes besides the awesome engrave beer mugs we had custom made....we decided on pretzels!! Perfect snack to go with our theme. But instead of just a few we decided to spend 6hrs on baking enough pretzels to last us through the night and t A whole basket full of them!! For us to eat and for us to share.
We miss having fresh pretzels from the local bakeries in Germany....but let me tell you....I have filled a void our family has had ever since we moved away from Germany. These taste and look like the real deal, as real as you can get pretzels to look & taste without using food grade lye.......not that I think I would actually use it if I did have it available thought LOL!

How do you like eating your pretzels? Dipped in cheese, mustard or butter? Or is there something I haven't tried yet that I am missing out on??

1+1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 Tb brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
4 +1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c butter, melted
Vegetable oil
2 quarts + 2 cups water
2/3 c baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 TBS water
Coarse Salt

To begin, place the 1 1/2 cups of warm water in a mixing bowl, with the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the top of the water, and let it sit about 10 minutes until it gets bubbly. Place your bowl under the mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and add in the flour and butter. Let the mixer run for about 4 minutes, until the dough comes away from the bowl and is nice and smooth. Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a clean, oiled bowl, Turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, grab a large pot, and put 2 quarts plus 2 cups of water in it, along with the baking soda. Bring the water to a full boil.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly spray the paper with oil. Set aside.

Now grab your dough while the water is heating up.
Turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface. Cut the dough into 8 equal portions.
Take one portion and roll it into a long snake, about 2 feet long. To shape the pretzel, bring the ends up; twist once, and then again. Turn the ends down towards the bottom, and press the ends gently against the dough where it crosses. With a slotted spatula, gently place the pretzel in the boiling water for **30 seconds**

Lift the pretzel out, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining 7 pretzels.

Beat the yolk with a tablespoon of water in a small dish, and brush the tops of the pretzels with the mixture. Sprinkle with some coarse salt. Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes or until dark golden brown.