Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Pretzel My Buttons Mr. Winter

The once bright orange and blood red leaves are fading to earthy browns and littering the lawns. The autumn air is crisper, hinting of colder days to come. Our evening walks are now accompanied by big puffs of wispy breaths, smoking the air in between us. I found myself in shock yesterday, realizing that my favorite month is on its way out, waving its bare boned branches in farewell.

I am not ready to let go though. Stubbornly I sorted my mourning thoughts and dug into my cabinets, fishing out ingredients to soothe my aching soul. A recipe that fights back at the notion that winter is pushing its way in. And what says October more than a piping hot pretzel, sprinkled with salt, melting in your mouth?

Flour caked my pants all afternoon and dough clung under my nails. The courtyard doors were sprung open, but I dared not shiver and admit defeat. No, this last October Sunday afternoon would not be tainted by the north winds. Even if it meant I baked in my earmuffs.

Rosemary and Sea Salt Pretzels
Adapted from TwoPeasandTheirPod
This is my first foray into gluten free pretzels and I must admit it was quite a challenge. Sunday afternoons are recommended as it is a long process to make them. I boiled one batch before baking and made them into pretzel “bites”, and the other batch I curled and shaped straight to the pan. The non-boiled pretzels tasted more like bread, while the boiled and more of a pretzel consistency. Both were nonetheless delicious, especially dunked in spicy mustard. Enjoy!

• 1 1/2 cups warm water
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
• 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
• 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
• 5 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
• Canola oil, to grease bowl
• 3 quarts water (if boiling)
• 2/3 cups baking soda (if boiling)
• 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
• Coarse sea salt

In the bowl of your mixer combine first four ingredients (water, sugar, yeast, and butter) with a dough hook. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a bowl whisk sea salt, flour, and rosemary and slowly add to the bowl on low speed. Increase your speed and knead until the dough sticks together and pulls away from the bowl. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Lightly coat a large bowl with canola oil and add your dough ball. Cover with multiple towels, and place in a warm dry place for the dough to rise. I let mine rise for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove dough and divide into 6-8 pieces, depending on how large you want your pretzels. Shape by crossing the right side over the left, than left over right. Flip ends up.

Place on baking sheet. Whisk the egg with 1 tbs of water, and brush over the tops of the pretzels. This will give them a nice golden glow. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with spicy mustard!

If boiling:

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, slowly. Divide dough into “bites”. Submerge pretzels for 30 seconds than place on baking sheet. Be careful when removing as the dough is very flimsy!

Follow instructions for baking above.

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