Showing posts with label pretzel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pretzel. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pretzels for crunch - Gluten-Free recipe

From Daryl aka Avery

As I eagerly await the launch of the first in A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series, FINAL SENTENCE, coming July 2 (whee!), I am whizzing through cookbooks on my shelves. I call it research. My husband calls it tasty. I’m researching breads, cookies, grilled cheese, candy. Fun!

While I was at Salt and Pepper Bookstore, which has just moved to a new HUGE location, I found a cookbook called The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking. The authors give all sorts of great tips on how to make tasty morsels for someone who either has to eat gluten-free or sugar-free. I know, that’s obvious, right?  They cut down on carbs. They cut down on fats. It’s all good.

However, they also used a few products that I don’t normally use. They use a lot of nuts which, sadly, I can’t have any longer because, long story short, celiac disease can cause an individual's system to go whacko and all of a sudden, all sorts of things are
indigestible. Like nuts. Pooh! I love nuts.

But I digress…

Anyway, I have been craving pretzels, and I found a recipe in this book that won my heart. I  tweaked it, for my purposes, but I’ll give you all the tips the authors provided.  

Oh, by the way, I’m having two contests right now. One is a launch contest. I’m giving away a $50 bookstore gift certificate on my website. Here’s the link. LAUNCH CONTEST

The other is a June Mystery Scramble contest on Facebook with three other authors: Krista Davis, Janet Bolin and Maggie Sefton. Do you like puzzles? Scrambles? Follow this SCRAMBLE LINK to enter. You could win a $25 bookstore gift certificate or books from the authors!

And check back to the MLK blog each Wednesday for the next couple of weeks because I’ll be giving away a few things to those who leave comments.

(Inspired by a recipe from The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-Free Baking
by Peter Reinhart  and Denene Wallace)

(tweaked from the recipe in the cookbook)
(makes 8)

½ cup sweet rice flour
½ cup potato starch
1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
2 tablespoons whey powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (about 95 °F)

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon baking soda

Topping and Dip:
1-2 teaspoons coarse salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. (I set mine to 375°F for crispier pretzel). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with spray oil (gluten-free).

Grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder (that has been cleaned). Grind twice if you still see seeds and not “flour.”

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, potato starch, sunflower seed flour, butter, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk, using a fork, until mixed. The butter will grab to the flours.  (The authors used "butter buds" instead of butter. They used almond flour instead of sweet rice flour and potato starch.)

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.

In a small bowl (or another measuring cup), stir the yeast and warm water together until the yeast dissolves. You don’t need to wait for the yeast to proof (bubble) because it’s only there for flavor, not leavening. Mix the yeast mixture into the eggs.

Add the flour mixture to the eggs and stir for 1 to 2 minutes to make thick, playdough-style dough.  {It’s gooey and stickey.}

Spray the spray oil onto a working surface (I used a glass cutting board). Roll the mixture into a ball and divide into 8 parts. Roll each part into a small ball.  Now take one of the balls and gently roll the ball into a strand about 10-12 inches long. If the dough breaks apart (and it will), push it back together. If you need a little moisture, wet your hands and continue. This takes time, but playing with playdough is fun!  Form each strand into a pretzel shape by curving up the right side and bending back down (setting a tip on the curve) and then curving up the left side and bending it back down (setting it on top of the other end of the strand. Get it?).  Set it on the prepared tray with parchment paper. They WON’T spread.

Make the egg wash by whisking the egg, water, and baking soda. Brush the mixture (not too much) on each pretzel. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, then rotate the tray and bake another 10-12 minutes until golden brown. [It’s easy to let them get too dark so be aware of time and how your oven bakes. The authors suggested a much longer cooking time. I trimmed it way down.]

Remove from oven and transfer the pretzels to a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with mustard. Very crunchy and satisfying! Delish. 


* * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming
July 2013!! It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a "recovering" ad exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and cafe.

You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

Daryl and Avery are the same author.

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

You can follow and "like"and chat with my alter ego Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Are there dishes you know you will never make? Cakes that seem too complicated? Pastries that are a lot of work? I seriously doubt that I will ever make puff pastry. I love all the things I can do with it, but making the pastry sounds like such a big, big deal. Sometimes, though, things change and you take on a challenge.

I never thought I would bake pretzels. Yummy, warm pretzels. Soft on the inside with that lovely golden brown exterior crusted with salt. It's Oktoberfest again and if there's one thing Germans love with their beer -- it's those big pretzels.

And while I'm on the subject of Germans, I'll take this opportunity to announce that I am writing a second mystery series in addition to the Domestic Diva Mysteries. This one takes place in a fictional resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where Holly Miller's German grandmother runs an inn. Naturally, there will be recipes and these pretzels are just the sort of thing that will be served at Barktoberfest.

That's right, Barktoberfest! Dogs and cats will play important roles in this series. Especially a little Jack Russell terrier named Trixie who has a nose for trouble.

The series doesn't have an official name yet. That will be decided in the next few months. Look for the first book in the fall or winter of 2013.

So back to the pretzels -- turns out they're not so difficult to make after all. I found a website called Heritage Recipes and their recipe sounded about right to me. It turned out great. Honestly, the only hard part is five minutes of kneading. I decided that would be good upper body exercise and went for it. I'm sure my arms look much more toned today.

I was skeptical about boiling the raw dough. Eeek! Turns out that's a snap. After the first one, I was like a pro, whipping pretzels in and out of the simmering water. Nothing to be afraid of there! Have a clock in front of you that marks seconds as they tick by. Don't bother with a timer -- it takes longer than 10 seconds to set them. Just eyeball it. This part sounds like a big chore, but it goes really fast and isn't hard at all.

I used my KitchenAid mixer to get this recipe started, but it can (and most certainly was) made entirely by hand. Note that I used a wide, shallow pan, about 3-4 inches deep for the boiling portion. A very deep pot might make it more difficult to extract the pretzels. The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour. I used bread flour and they turned out great. Mine baked in 12 minutes, so watch the baking time carefully.

There's more good news. The recipe says they can be frozen and reheated at 400 for 10 minutes. I popped a frozen one in the toaster and it came out great. A little bit crunchier on the outside maybe, but overall it was delish.

Authentic Soft German Pretzels
(from Heritage Recipes)
makes 12 pretzels

  • clock with second hand
  • baking sheet
  • stainless steel or enamel shallow pan that can hold 6 - 8 cups (do not use aluminum pan)
  • two large bowls
  • clean kitchen towel

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil + extra
1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons baking soda
6 cups water

coarse salt like Kosher or coarse sea salt

In a deep bowl (or mixing bowl) dissolve the yeast in the water.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and sugar. Beat well for about 3 minutes until it becomes a smooth batter.

Gradually add the remaining flour and beat until it shapes into a dough.

Dust some flour on a board and knead the dough for five minutes, adding a dusting of flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

after kneading
Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in it and turn a couple of times to coat the dough.


Drape the kitchen towel over the bowl and place in a warm spot to rise until double -- about 1 hour.


after rising

Grease a baking sheet well. Pour some salt into a teeny bowl so you can easily sprinkle it with your fingers.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12 relatively equal pieces.

12 pieces
Roll each piece into a small ball and then, rolling between your palms, shape it into a fat little sausage.

Using your hands, roll it back and forth on a board until it's a long rope. It doesn't have to be perfect. Shape it into an upside down U.

Cross the ends near the bottom.

Lift the top and fold it over so that it touches the very ends.

Pinch ends to top lightly to secure the ends to the pretzel.

Place on the greased baking sheet. Cover with the towel and let rise about half an hour. They should look puffy.

after rising
Preheat oven to 425.

Pour six cups water and 6 tablespoons baking soda into the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.


Using a slotted spatula or slotted spoon,


slide each pretzel into the water -- one at a time -- for 10 seconds.

they float!
Flip, and simmer for another 10 seconds. Remove from water, drain for a second, and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat for each pretzel.

they will look wrinkled

Bake 12 to 15 minutes. They should be golden brown.

Serve warm with butter or mustard. (Beer and sausages not required, but very tasty!) If not eating that day, freeze in a zip top bag and reheat at 400 for about 10 minutes to serve.