Soft Pretzel Recipe from fifteenspatulas.com

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 2.25 tsp instant quick rise yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 12.5 oz all purpose flour (2.5 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • vegetable oil for greasing the sheet pan
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. This indicates the yeast is alive and working. Add the flour and salt. Mix with the dough hook by hand for a few seconds to roughly combine, then fit the hook and bowl on the mixer and knead on medium low for 5 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
  2. Cover the dough and let rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, and lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. You could use parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  4. Place the dough onto a lightly oiled countertop. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (just cut it with a knife).
  5. Whisk to combine the warm water and baking soda and cook in the microwave for 1 minute. FYI it’s not going to dissolve completely, and that’s okay.
  6. Roll each of the eight pieces into a long rope, and shape each one into a pretzel (see the step-by-step photos on the blog post to see how to do this). Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place onto the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then let them rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown. Brush the pretzels with the melted butter while they are hot out of the oven. Enjoy while they are hot, and keep in mind these don’t taste as amazing the next day. Enjoy!

 

Overnight Waffles

  • 1/2 cup warm water (100º-110ºF)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pure maple syrup (warmed for serving)
  • In a large bowl, add the water and the packet of yeast and whisk to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. If it doesn’t become foamy, start over.
  • In another large bowl, add the milk, butter, sugar, flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add the milk mixture to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in the flour until there are no visible lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit out overnight.
  • The next morning, preheat a waffle iron and grease with oil or cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, baking soda, and ham into the batter, scoop a 1/2 cup portion onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 3-5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with the warm maple syrup.
  • Tip: Freeze the waffles and place the frozen waffles in the toaster until crisped and warmed through for a quick breakfast.

 

Pretzels on the Baking Steel

IMG_7571

12 oz warm water (110ish degrees)
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
22 oz AP flour
2 oz butter
6 c water
1/2 c baking soda
pretzel salt (coarse sea salt will work as well)

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine water, sugar, salt in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to foam up for about 5 minutes.

3. Add melted butter and flour into mixer, and mix with dough hook for about 4 minutes. The dough will ball up and help clean the sides of the bowl for you, that’s a good sign.

4. Spray a mixing bowl and transfer the dough to that bowl, cover with plastic wrap and proof in a warm environment for up to an hour. You want to see the dough expand a little more than double.

*Chef’s Tip: Spray the top of the dough with pan spray too before wrapping in plastic wrap. This will help you when removing the dough from the bowl and not have any stick to the top.

5. Once your dough has proofed, get it onto a cutting board. At this time, you want to bring water and baking soda to a quick boil to dissolve and turn off. With a bench scraper or knife, portion the dough into 170g for pretzels, 85g for buns. Shape as you wish.

6. Dip your pretzels into the baking soda solution and let sit for about 10-15 seconds. (Traditionally, one would use lye to dip the pretzels in, but we don’t want to poison anyone here). Transfer soaked pretzels onto a baking steel with parchment paper and coat with pretzel salt.

7. Bake for approximately 12 minutes until golden brown and rest for about 3 minutes.

Grab your favorite mustard and dig in, you won’t be disappointed. These didn’t last very long in the test kitchen, believe me.  yields 6 medium pretzels/ 12 buns)

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s Good Eats

 

Soda Crackers from Bernard Clayton

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1 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour (I used White Lily all purpose flour)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1/4 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup hot water (120 – 130 degrees)
1/2 tsp. malt syrup (I used 1/4 tsp. molasses)
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 tbsp. melted butter

In a large bowl mix flour, yeast, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside. In a small bowl mix water, malt syrup and shortening. Stir to blend then add to flour mixture. Mix until well blended then knead for about 4 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Add more flour if needed. Put the dough into a butted bowl, flip over to coat all sides of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 18 hours. The longer the better. Roll the dough into a 18″ x 6″ rectangle which is 1/16″ thick. Fold the dough from the short ends, brushing off excess flour, to make 3 layers. Roll again to 1/16″ thickness. Cut into crackers, place on a greased cookie sheet and poke holes in the crackers to prevent them from puffing up. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Bake at 425 for 10-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the crackers with melted butter, sprinkle with salt if desired, then place crackers on a rack to cool.

Variations: For sesame-onion crackers, add to the dough 4 tsp. each sesame seeds and grated onion. For an herb cracker, 4 tsp. each chopped fresh parsley and chives and 1/2 tsp. dried dillweed; also try 4 tsp. caraway seeds or 2 tsp. poppy seeds.

Quick and Easy Foolproof Pizza Dough from melskitchencafe.com

  • IMG_48991 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water, honey, oil, yeast and salt. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The exact flour amount will vary so go by the touch and feel of the dough versus the exact cup measurements in the recipe. The dough should be soft and smooth (not leaving a residue on your fingers but not super stiff, either).
  2. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes (more like 5-6 minutes if kneading by hand or if using whole wheat flour).
  3. Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into pizza(s), spread with sauce and toppings, and bake at 475 or 500 degrees on a preheated pizza stone or on a lightly greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes (for an in-depth look at baking methods, here is a great tutorial)

mel’s note: I almost always use 1/2 or up to 3/4 whole wheat flour with good results – I let it knead for a few minutes longer. Also, this recipe doubles, triples and quadruples really well. If doubling, use double the amount for all the ingredients. For triple and quadruple batches, increase all the ingredients accordingly except the yeast – only use 2 tablespoons yeast for a tripled batch and 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast for a quadrupled batch. Keep an eye on the flour if increasing the recipe. You want a soft, smooth dough – not too sticky and definitely not overfloured.

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese

  • 1 cup warm water201101-r-focaccia
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.