I had never used active yeast before and was a little intimidated by it, but this recipe is a cinch! The most difficult part is shaping the dough to somewhat resemble pretzels. I was so horrible at it that I enlisted my hubby...and found that he is a terrific pretzel shaper! I would never have never guessed he had hidden pretzel shaping skills! Hubby shaped all the pretzels for me because I couldn't quite master the technique.
On Beantown Baker's website where I found this recipe, she shows two different types of pretzels you can make with the master recipe, so I decided to go with the Parmesan Garlic variation. Next time I might try the sun dried tomato...oh wait... maybe I will make the plain version so I can top them with cinnamon and sugar. Yummmm, I'm ready to make another batch ASAP because ours is already gone! Oh and did I mention the hidden bonus is that these little guys are only 1 Weight Watchers point??
Parmesan Garlic Soft Pretzels
From Beantown Baker
1/8 cup hot water
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 cloves of garlic
2/3 cups parmesan cheese
4 + cups of flour
Coarse Kosher salt
Butter or shortening (to grease cookie sheets)
In a large bowl mix together hot water and yeast until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the warm water and brown sugar and keep stirring until the brown sugar dissolves. Press the cloves of garlic and add them, along with the Parmesan cheese into the liquid mixture.
Slowly add in the 4 cups of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
Lightly flour the counter. Dip your hands into extra flour and knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work)
Grease cookie sheets generously with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheets with Kosher salt.
Preheat the oven to 475.
Fill a large saucepan at least halfway full of water. For each cup of water, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
Divide the dough into equal sized pieces. Using the following 4 steps shape each dough ball into a pretzel shape:
1. Roll the dough into a rope that is 14 inches long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the dough into a "U" shape. **If you have trouble rolling the dough into a rope, wet your hands slightly and try again.)
2. Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The rope should cross about three inches from the tips.
3. Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends backwards, towards the middle of the "U".
4. Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends firmly into the dough.
Bring the water in the saucepan to gentle boil (be sure there are not too many bubbles). Using a large pancake turner lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Lift the pretzel and shake off excess water. Place the pretzel onto the greased, salted cookie sheet. Repeat until all the pretzels are done.
Sprinkle some kosher salt and Parmesan cheese on top of the pretzels and bake for 8 minutes or until they are golden brown.
**If you want to make your pretzels plain, and not Garlic Parmesan, just omit the garlic and Parmesan cheese from the recipe!
Honey Mustard Dip
Modified from The Cottage Home
5 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons dijon or German mustard
Salt & sugar to taste
Mix sour cream, honey, and mustard together. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.