Dirty Girls Do the Superbowl, Part I
Fuck yeast. I hate it and I hate having to depend on it for my baking skills to be majestic.
Yeast is not at all something I relish dependence upon. In fact, the whole idea that it’s alive just sounds so zombie-esque.
Like The Walking Dead of baking. Or Resident Evil. Speaking of necessary evil, I know it is needed to put the bubbles in my luscious lambic (Lindeman’s Peche for me!) and the finesse in my focaccia, but I am not in love. Or even in like. I have to give it a bath that’s not to hot so that I don’t kill it, and enough sugar to eat so that it can fart around to make my bread wise. How lame is that?
Not lame, but let me present it from a new, warped viewpoint – it is the zombie-yeast which makes baking so many things so alive. It’s an irony. I like ironies a lot more than I like zombies. But ironies and zombies have a lot in common – they are hard working operators. Walking through your bread wonderland with its vacant-yet-mission critical eyes and arms outstretched.
Fucking zombies. You know what? I don’t mean that. At the DGK, everyone is welcome, and zombie yeast is no exception. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have discovered the joys of making homemade pretzels. Yes, yeast is invited to the party. Yes, you get to construct a baking soda jacuzzi. And best of all, you get to ply the pretzels emerging from the spa with sweet, glorious butter. The end is well worth the means. And just like my end, the pretzels are sexy as hell.
Irony and yeast, wrapped up in a delicious pretzel. I’ll take mine with an extra dose of irony.
Buttery Soft Pretzels Bites
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 c. plus 1 teaspoon of white sugar
1 1/4 c. of warm water
5 c. of flour
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
4 tbs. of butter, melted
3 quarts of water
1 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
coarse grain salt
Grab the bowl of your standing mixer (or a large bowl) and add the water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Next, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until the mixture gets good and frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, remaining sugar, salt and butter and attach to the standing mixer. Pop in the dough hook and mix until a smooth dough forms . 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 spray with cooking spray.
Bring the water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an large stock pot.
Oil your hands and begin grabbing chunks of dough the size of nuggets. Roll until smooth and slightly oblong. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, about 5-6 at a time for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and place back on the parchment. Brush the top of each pretzel with melted butter first and then flip over and brush the other side. Next brush with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with the pretzel with the coarse salt. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until dark brown. Place the nuggets on a rack and cool slightly before serving…if you can. We just eat them straight from the pan, burning our fingers in the process.
We don’t think these guys need anything to be delectable, but for decadence, dip them in our Cheddar Beer Fondue. Or for a little kick, try them with our incendiary Spicy Horseradish Sauce below.
Spicy Horseradish Sauce
1/2 c. of sour cream (fat-free works well here to counteract the pound of butter you just drenched those pretzels in)
1-2 tbs. of prepared horseradish (we use 2, but we like heat)
1 tbs. of stone ground mustard
1/2 tsp. of salt
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve. Proceed to burn out your sinuses.