Beer and Pretzels {Recipe}

What else is the weekend for if not hanging out with friends and drinking a couple of beers? And, what goes better with beer than pretzels?
This is exactly what happened yesterday. It was a planned, semi-thought out gathering of friends.  We had gone to the beer/wine/liquor store near us to pick up some drinks for a different occasion a few weeks ago, and knew that we needed to go back and try some others that were recommended to us. There were so many different types of beer that we wanted to try, we decided to make an event out of it. Since we knew that we wanted to have a beer tasting,  making pretzels to go with it was a no-brainer.
So let’s get started!
Gather all of your ingredients. Cook’s tip: mix the yeast and water together first to be sure that the yeast you are working with is still active. We had some old yeast that was not foaming up in the proper amount of time (it should only take about 5 minutes) so we bought some new yeast. This was truly a test of “best of” dates on packaging since the old yeast we had said that it was good ’til August of this year.

After gathering ingredients it is time to mix the dough.  Once the ingredients are mixed and all incorporated together, the dough will look shaggy and will be a little sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The way that we made sure that we were not adding too much more flour than what the recipe called for, we mixed the dough using the minimum amount of flour, 3-3/4 cups, and saved the last 1/4 cup for kneading into the dough as needed. We used that last 1/4 cup flour to dust the counter and on top of the dough instead of mixing it all in from the very beginning.
The dough will become less sticky and more smooth as you knead it on the counter. Once it is completely smooth, about 8-10 minutes of kneading, return it to the bowl and let rest, covered with plastic wrap,  in a warm spot for 45 minutes. The kitchen we were in was cold, so we had preheated the oven while gathering and mixing the ingredients and then turned it off and put the bowl in the off oven.  After this resting time, the dough should have bulked to twice the size and should be soft to the touch. The dough is now ready for shaping.

To shape the pretzels, divide dough into 8 equal pieces. One at a time, roll dough piece into a rope about 22-24 inches long. Make a U-shape with the dough by bringing the two ends up but not touching each other. Cross the ends of the rope near the top (about an inch away from the top). Twist the ends once and then pull down, connecting the ends of the rope to the bottom of the U-shape. This can also be done by twisting the dough in mid-air, but that is definitely the more tricky way. You might also want to make pretzel bites, which is really easy; all you have to do is cut rope of dough into 8 equal parts. We did this since we were sharing with a large group of people and each recipe only makes 8 large pretzels.

P1000435 (Sorry for the blurry picture, I was unable to edit these.)

I watched this video to help me figure out how to do this: http://www.saveur.com/article/Video/Video-How-To-Twist-Pretzels

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Once the pretzels are shaped, place them on an oiled baking sheet and let rest for another 20 minutes. While the pretzels are resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and start heating the water and baking soda. Bring the water and baking soda up to a boil. Once pretzels have rested and water is boiling, boil the pretzels, about 3 at a time, until set, about 3 minutes. You might want to turn the pretzels half way through; we used chopsticks to do this. If you don’t have chopsticks, tongs work just as well. This is what gives the pretzels their typical crust and chewy inside, just like a bagel. Place boiled pretzels on sheet pan lined with oiled parchment paper. This is important: pretzels WILL stick to baking sheet if not placed on parchment. (Trust me, as we learned this the hard way) Brush boiled pretzels with egg wash (or leave off for vegan pretzels) and add salt (or other toppings) as desired. Other topping ideas would include (but  is not limited to): sesame seeds, shredded cheese, or poppy seeds.

Place baking sheet with topped pretzels in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy! I’m sure you already know this, but pretzels are good with mustard, or hummus, or plain and just a little warm. And, of course, I recommend beer as a wonderful thing to drink with them!

Sorry for my lack of pictures with this recipe; I am out of practice of taking pictures of the major steps of recipe, because, as you may have noticed, I  have not posted a recipe on here in a LONG time.

Recipe adapted slightly from Joy the Baker:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)

1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pretzel salt or other toppings

1 heaping Tablespoon baking soda (add it to the boiling water just before throwing in the pretzel dough!)

Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).

Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.

Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add heaping tablespoon of baking soda.

Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

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Indie Mart: I’m selling my sweets (again)!

I am going to be selling my homemade sweets at this:
INDIE MART JULY 300
I am making chocolate-covered pretzels, pie pops, and cookie sandwiches. Come down to the Mission and get some goodies! :)

Here are all of the details:

July 18th Indie Mart..back with more DIY. more fun. and more antics.
The Indie Mart is hitting the street again Sunday July 18th, from 12-6pm. We got over 90 vendors bringing you the best makers, designers, vintage, handmade unique goodies, art, baked treats and much more. Tons of interactive vendors offering customization or showing you how it’s made. About a third of our vendors are new, keeping to our promise of new vendors from all over Cali & SF.
We also have more DIY! Thanks to all of you who loved up on our woodland creature terrariums. This Indie Mart you can make your own terrarium, make pie in a jar to take home & bake OR you can sew up & create your own Sock Monster with help from WorkshopSF. We also got Broke Ass Crafts with Broke Ass Stuart with all kinds of fun dirt cheap crafts to make. We’re also welcoming Forage SF who host the underground farmers market, who are bringing a few rad vendors with them. San Franpsycho live printing out their badass milktruck. Besides our usual standby’s on stiff drinks, cheap beers & fresh BBQ food from thee Parkside… We got a life size terrarium where you can hang out, drink some beers & kick it with the gnomes, deer and relax. PBR’s forest right next to it, where you can hang out and get some sweet PBR giveaways..did someone say a tallboy sleeping bag?! Puppies & kittens for adoption from WonderDog. Heavy Metal Aerobics pumping at 3pm for all to join in (SF Weekly & 7×7 Best of SF winner). Photobooth. All lady DJ’s outside all day playing hella rock & roll. Bike parking & all kinds of fun!
Bands inside:
Chappo Music from NYC (4:15pm, http://www.chappomusic.com)
The Downer Party (3:30pm, http://www.myspace.com/downerpartytime)
Super Adventure (2:45pm, http://www.myspace.com/superadventureclubmusic)
Microfiche (2pm, http://www.myspace.com/microfichemusic)
DJ’s outside all day: DJ Cherry T, Sassy Mags, Danelle (from Heavy Metal Aerobics) & Resident DJ Rick Moranis (previously Sarahdactyl)
This month’s featured artist: Kelly from Retro Whale. Peep her rad art here!
The Indie-Mart Street Fair
Sunday July 18th, 12-6pm
Thee Parkside- 17th st & all down Wisconsin
Ride your bike, take the 22 Muni Line
Valet bike parking from the SF Bike Coalition
ALL AGES- 21 to booze it up.
$3 to git in!
http://www.indie-mart.com
http://www.twitter.com/indiemart
http://www.facebook.com/people/Indie-Mart/1330994393
JUST GOOD SHOPPING. GOOD FOOD. GOOD MUSIC. GOOD DRINKING. GOOD PEOPLE. GOOD ALL DAY FUN. THE INDIE MART.
http://www.indie-mart.com

Bay to Breakers Bakes: Part Two

For those of you who did not see part one, I took part of another bake sale for charity; this one for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I made chocolate covered pretzels with peanuts…

there were so many other baked goods, including cookies, brownies, and muffins. It was so busy with people buying things and people-watching that I forgot to take pictures of anything else or of the sale itself. I did see some awesome costumes and even some nudity, but again, no pictures from me. If you would like to donate money to the fund, please click on the part one link for more details.