Today in Raleigh the weather is hovering around 65 degrees. This past weekend we were snowed in and school was cancelled for many days for my daughter. I’ve lived here in North Carolina for sixteen years now and the weather still surprises me. Growing up in Northern Virginia when it snowed it was more than just a dusting and you went to school and drove unless there were more than a few inches on the ground. Regardless, because it happens so rarely here it becomes an event and it’s fun to hunker down and treat it as the special occasion that it is.
In our house when we don’t have projects going on (and the busy holiday season has passed as well as peppermint bark production) we usually spend our spare time cooking. Many recipes are too time consuming to create on busy weeknights so weekends and snow days are perfect for them. So this weekend, as the snowflakes were falling, my husband got the urge to make homemade pretzels. They are really easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. We made both traditional shaped pretzels and also shaped them into rolls. My brother works in the restaurant industry and at one of the restaurants where he worked they served hot pretzel rolls and they were mind blowing. The rolls make delicious sandwiches when they are heated up with some ham and melted cheese as well.
We use Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network:
- 1½ cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4½ cups
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt
- Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
- In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Do you have a go-to recipe or family tradition when you are snowed in?