Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bavarian Beer Pretzels

And we're BACK with a vengeance! I hope everyone had the best holiday season? Our time at home was fantastic and we squeezed a lot in the three weeks (family time and food). We tried out a few new restaurants and all wore our few new items of clothing that we opened on Christmas morning... but the one thing that REALLY stuck with me over the last few weeks was trying to figure out a recipe for these RIDICULOUS beer pretzels we had at The Galway Hooker. This place is a legitimately cool Irish pub and they're famous for these crazy soft pretzels and the world's best Guinness on tap. Naturally, after trying it once and loving it, we returned four more times in that three week span, just for the pretzel and the beer cheese sauce.
James and I were hooked (no pun intended) and I've been scheming and waiting to get back home to start testing out recipes to recreate these puffy chunks of goodness. Well this morning was the moment. And I feel on top of the world. HAVING SAID THAT, I want you to know that I have tweaked a few things more than once and this recipe begs for adjustments based on personal preference, so feel free to get creative! But they are PERFECT as is here, so please please please make these today. And tomorrow.

INGREDIENTS: (adapted from food.com)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided into cups
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/3 cups luke warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • -------------------------------------
  • 3 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 Cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • coarse sea salt to taste
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, yeast, 2 Tablespoons butter and the 1 & 1/3 cup water. Stir or mix with your electric mixer until well combined. Let it stand 10-15 minutes or until little bubbles form on the surface. Once a little bubbly, stir in the salt and the remaining flour until it's well combined and you're able to pick it up and knead it. Flour your work surface and knead the dough until it's really well combined and starting to feel pretty sticky and well bonded.
Beware, this dough will get REALLY sticky from here on out so keep your surfaces and hands well floured. Once you're done kneading, divide the dough into six pieces. Now preheat your oven to 450 degrees and lightly butter your baking sheet.
Gently roll out each dough piece into a long, skinny log, about 15 inches in length. Don't let the twisting part fool you, either... it's not hard. Watch:

Step 1: roll out
Step 2: make a loop
Step 3: curl & press
Easy, right? Right. Great, now that your pretzels are all formed, let's get going on the baking soda wash. Boil the 3 cups of water. If you have an electric kettle, I recommend using it for ease and speed. In a new medium sized bowl, combine the 3 Tablespoons baking soda with the 3 cups boiling water and stir until blended.
Here's the fun part! Slowly and carefully, transfer one pretzel at a time into the baking soda wash with a large slotted spoon for a little less than a minute, letting it get soaked on both sides. But try not to flip it, just gently dunk it under every so often. Remove from the wash with the slotted spoon and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
See how puffy and nice the baking soda wash makes them?! :) Aren't they looking so cool?? Once you've done that with all six pretzels, brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle to taste with coarse sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Mine took all of the 10 minutes to be absolutely golden and perfect.
And there you have it! Fresh, hot, homemade, perfect pretzels to enjoy all on their own or with some grainy mustard and beer cheese sauce! James and I ate two of them (yikes!) just by themselves with a glass of yazoo and THEN we topped two more with homemade tuna salad and broiled them in the oven with white cheddar cheese! :D  HEAVENLY!
Have an Irish pub theme night at home! Turn on some good tunes, grab a jug of your favorite brew and whip these babies out... They're plenty big for sharing and I can tell you your friends won't want one other thing but these.

Jordan, Brent... wish you were here!
xox

3 comments:

  1. These look totally yummy. I've made soft pretzels before, but my inspiration was the pretzel roll. Our caterers at work get these amazing pretzel rolls (think dinner roll sized), and I wanted to duplicate them. I love soft pretzels, and the smaller size is perfect, plus they make really tasty little sandwiches. ;) I have to say I'm a bit disappointed that you tempted us with pretzels and beer cheese sauce, but DIDN'T GIVE US A RECIPE FOR THE SAUCE!! Just kidding...will have to figure that one out for myself. Happy New Year to you and your husband!

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  2. This has got to be one of my FAVORITE POSTS EVER. The photos are SOOO incredible & those pretzels are literally making my mouth WATER. They are PICTURE PERFECT...THE SALT!!!! AH! GREAT JOB, BABE!!!!!!!

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  3. I'M HEADING TO THE GALWAY HOOKER RIGHT NOW....CAN'T MESS WITH ALL THAT BAKING AND SOAKING, ETC. "GET IN MY BELLY!"
    dad

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