Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels

When Roger moved into a new apartment, he asked his roommates who was the coolest girl in the area. "That would be Tanji." He picked up the phone, dialed her number and asked her out. That was ten years ago.
Tanji and I were college buddies. We worked together in a newspaper office, laughing and talking and once in a while selling ads. We lost contact for over a decade until a couple of months ago, on this blog, a blip appeared in the comment section. There is only one Tanji-it had to be her. And now this last weekend, Tanji and Roger kissed their four little children good-bye in North Carolina and came out for a visit. After ten years, we didn't miss a beat. I think I could have talked to Tanji forever, about everything and nothing, about how her little babies can read Harry Potter and scale walls, about how she can throw together Greek chicken with pantry ingredients, about her snow-mobiling date with Roger, about her circle of friends in Charlotte, about her latest shoe find at Target. The best part is that Roger is every bit as clever and fun and smart, a perfect match for my Tanji. And we really did talk approximately forever, or at least until after 2 AM and then again at 4:30 AM. I didn't notice how the years had flown....until I tried to get out of the bed the next day. Don't tell anyone, but I'm decidedly thirty something and definitely no longer twenty something. But some things never change. After ten years, Tanji is still the coolest girl around. Here's a great recipe to make with your wee ones (or not) on a Fall afternoon. Itty bitty hands are experts at rolling rope snakes, so put those little charges to work! This recipe is stolen off Two Peas in a Pod, a lovely blog about a darling couple cooking up amazing food. Money Saving Tips: I always buy whatever wheat flour I can find on sale. My favorite is Prairie Gold, but I don't often buy it anymore because of the price. You can swap out sesame seeds or poppy seeds if you don't have course salt. You can convert this snack into a light meal. Stir together extra honey mustard for a turkey and cheddar pretzel sandwich.
Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels
Estimated Cost:$4.00 for 8 giant pretzels
Notes: I like to put honey and mustard in one ramekin, side by side. That way every bite is a surprise.
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 and 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat)
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
Honey
Yellow Mustard
For the Pretzels: Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. 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.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape: take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Dip into desired sauces.
Coming Tomorrow:
Barefoot Thursdays
Butternut Squash Risotto

56 comments:

The Renouf Family said...

2am??? I would have never survived, unless perhaps there was food involved :).
Sounds like the good old days, but even better. I've been wanting to make pretzels with my kids. So thanks for the incentive!

VeggieGirl said...

Love the story about your college friend, Tanji :0)

Mmm, fabulous pretzel recipe!!

mommyofthree said...

I have been following your blog for some time, but have never commented. Love the recipes. These pretzels have become our family's favorite thing to take to picnics and pot lucks. Fun for the kids, and yummy for adults, too.
Today, I had to laugh at your "thirty-something" comment. It's exactly how I felt last time I saw an old (oops--I mean former) college friend and we stayed up too late talking. It was worth it, though!

Kelly said...

Those look like alot of fun...
I made pretzels once way back when..but these ones look so good, I want to make that sandwich..mmm...mmm..

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your story about you and Tanji reminds of and my best firend Georgia! Oh how I miss her. The pretzels looked delicious at Marie's and they look amazing here. The wee hands are too cute.

Marjie said...

It's great that your old friend came to visit. Isn't making pretzels with the kids a hoot? They enjoy bread stick making, too!

Di said...

Oh, I'm going to -have- to make these. Soon! I bet my girls will get a kick out of helping, too.

Cathy said...

It's just so wonderful that you have reconnected with this special friend of yours. It sounds like you didn't miss even a small beat and picked up right where you left off! Oh, and I am most definitely a 30-something as well. Not only can I not stay up late without really paying for it the next day, but my back hurts sometimes for no apparent reason.

I'm making these pretzels with the kids for sure -- they will LOVE everything about this one. I have been meaning to ask you a question about whole wheat flour in general. I know that you will frequently use WW flour instead of all-purpose in recipes. When you do that, is it an even swap (i.e., 1 C of all-purpose = 1C whole wheat)or do you use more or less of the WW? I was thinking about using at least some WW flour in the pumpkin muffins, but wasn't sure if the flour quantity would have to be adjusted at all. Thanks Prudy!

Maria said...

I am so glad you tried the pretzels! Glad you got the kiddies involved. They turned out great!! They are a favorite at our house!

Prudy said...

Cathy:
Great question. When I'm making baked goods that need to be tender-like cookies or coffee cake or muffins, I go a little lighter on the wheat flour. I always use at least half wheat flour, but I might be just a little scant-like maybe 1 teaspoon less than a cup. When making bready type textures, like pizza dough,or a really hearty coffee cake, I'll just do a straight swap. I made the pumpkin muffins with all whole wheat-no white at all, and I thought they came out great.
I didn't now that your college roommate was a TWDer. You must have been the fun and funniest roommate.

Kirsten said...

Love the idea of making a sandwich out of the pretzels. They look great!

Mary Ann said...

I am so glad that you posted this. I have had those soft pretzels from Maria's blog on my to make list for quite some time. I can't fit everything in! These look great. I think we will do it next week,for an after school snack. I am making your caramel apple wedges today with the leftover caramel and also your whole wheat hamburger buns, mini style. You are the best!

Candy said...

Yum! And what fun that is so cool!

The Food Librarian said...

How fun! These look great and the sandwich is awesome!

anudivya said...

Loved hearing about you and Tanji. Friends make life so much better!
I just happened to make pretzels last week with choc chips. But had to microwave them the next day to make them soft... yours looks so good!

The Blonde Duck said...

How can you go wrong with pretzels? In fact, it makes me want....waffles! I have no idea why, but I know what I likes and I likes what I do. Got any wheat waffles recipes in that brilliant little mind of yours?

Catherine said...

I love homemade soft pretzels. And you just made me extra excited about Switzerland! When we were there before, our last day there we went to a bakery and the served us sandwiches on pretzels and they were so good! I had forgotten abou them until now! Now I can't wait to make my own pretzels and to have a Swiss one in less than a month!

Leslie said...

Prudy,
I wish I could have been there, too. What a fun weekend. It does sound like the good old days, at least the good old one week I'd get with you at Education Week. We'd stay up all night then too and not feel at all the next day.
Are any of us going to get any sleep in Europe?
Thank you for the pretzel recipe. They look delicious and The Littles will have fun making them. Especially Erin! I mean Erin Leigh. "Erin Leigh, please."

Patsyk said...

I loved reading about you reconnecting with your friend! Sounds like it was a wonderful time, indeed!

I've got part of an afternoon with just one of my little men on Sunday... maybe we'll make these! I'm sure he'd love it!

Sara said...

What amazing looking wheat pretzels. I love them already and can't wait to try them. I love your stories, and what fun company! Old friends are treasures!

MK and Co. said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your friend. These look super delicious. Especially the sandwich!

Amy said...

mmmmm!!! I want that sandwich!! These look wonderful!!

Aggie said...

I love hearing about your cool friend Tanji! I'm happy you had a great visit! (I am thirty something too and would still be recovering from the late night chat)...

These pretzels are awesome Prudy! I would be a hero in this house if this was our afternoon activity, my son looooves his soft pretzels! I love that you used whole wheat, and love even more that you used them for sandwich bread!

Allie said...

So glad you had such a great visit it's amazing how you can make up for time chatting away like that. I really like the idea about using the pretzels for sandwich bread!

gigi said...

This is an awesome story! How blessed yall were to be able to get together from opposite sides of the country so soon after conecting with each other. Fun for all.
The pretzels look delicious as well as fun to make. Yummy!

Sharon said...

What a cute story! I love making pretzels but I'm twisting challenged so they usually end up as rolls. Yours look so great!

Michal said...

i cannot wait. it's a good thing i borrowed a stand mixer. i don't think that i can last more than a day without one.

Anna M. said...

Don't you love true-blue friends! The pretzels look tasty...love the idea of the pretzel sandwich! =)

Mary said...

New friends are silver. Old friends are gold. The pretzels look pretty good, too.

Rachel said...

Oh yum--those look delicious! And so fun!

Beth said...

Its so great catching up with old friends. Sounds like you had a fantastic time!

Ive never made pretzels - will have to give them a go someday soon

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

oh my goodness, I just visited your blog today for the first time... stumbled on... and I totally know Tanji! We moved from N.C. two years ago. We used to have playgroup together! That's such a fun unexpected find.

p.s. your pretzel's look great, too. :)

Natashya said...

I love soft pretzels. I think it is great how you made some closed ones to use for sandwiches.
I really should make some soon, we just picked up some local artisan mustards. They would be perfect together.

Dawn said...

I love how inventive you are! That sandwich pretzel is perfect!!! We need to get you your own show on Food TV. Yes, ma'am!

1freshstart said...

I'm still 20 something (although, closer to 30 something) and I don't like staying up until 4:30. I can do 2ish... but that's pushin it. The pretzels look amazing! I haven't ever tried to make them... maybe I will!
~Cat

CECIL said...

Such a sweet post about Tanji! :) My best friends are still those from *clearing throat* my middle school years. One of them, I've known him since we both were in diaper. We don't get to see each other much. But whenever we do, we just yapping until wee hours. My college best friend lives not too far (just in the States, and I am in Canada)..but we talk to each other every other day. Now I get all sentimental! :)

I need to brave myself out and try to make pretzel one of these days!

Grace said...

i refuse to eat a soft pretzel without mustard. does that make me a food snob? eh, oh well. great recipe, and great story. :)

Esi said...

I am totally bookmarking this for a weekend project! I love the idea of using a pretzel for sandwich bread.

Jenny said...

How fun!! I love pretzels and that sandwich looks great!

Loraine said...

I love that you were able to re-connect with a friend through your blog... the same thing has happened to me. This blogosphere is amazing!!!

oh... and the pretzels look terrific too. :-)

Mary Ann said...

You are a genius. I know I already commented today, but I made your whole wheat hamburger buns again today and they are so good! Plus, so easy. I never thought making rolls from scratch could be so simple. I can't wait to try these pretzels as well.

Dee said...

I'm on the fabulous side of thirty too ;) and would have been slayed the day after. Aaah, the sacrifices of fabulousness *sigh*

Pretzels always seemed to intimidating. But if your kids can do it...

Tanji said...

Awwww. You are too sweet Prudy. I've been thinking about you since Tuesday morning when we pulled out of your quaint little town in the wee hours of the morning. You are such a fantastic . . . well, everything! Mother, friend, wife, cook, teacher, sister, comedian, storyteller/acter-outer (I know that's not really a word-but if fits), etc. I catch myself cracking up at random times throughout the day about one of your many entertaining stories. You are hilarious! You could totally star in your own one woman show. I would be the first in line to buy tickets. Miss you!

Cathy said...

Thanks for the flour guidance, Prudy! I am eager to start using more whole wheat flour in my recipes so that I can feel a little less guilty about all that butter. Looking forward to seeing your risotto tomorrow!

Lisa said...

I love the idea of a pretzel sandwich! Isn't it great to have friends like that?

Emily said...

I could so go for one of these right now! What a great snack and a good recipe to do with kids! (I can just see my nephews using strips of dough as nunchucks playing ninja turtles . . . ;)

Emiline said...

Ha ha, I just made pretzels, too (not posted yet). These look great.

Glad your friend could come out for a visit. Now you'll have to visit her.

Marie said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your friend!!! I could never have stayed up that late myself, but then I am fifty something instead your thirty something! Those pretzels . . . WOWSER . . . I am going to have to make them!

Girl Japan said...

P, you are amazing!! Isn't it fun when we went from 20 something to 30 something and can still have those fond, late night calls, memories and great chats.

I am so grateful you posted this because, pretzels do remind me of fall,hiking down the elevator to grab a hottie (pretz) off of the street vendor or visiting the pretzel factory in PA (old family tradition) but now that I am in Tokyo...ahhhhh sigh, at least I can get roasted chestnuts everywhere but pretz.. oh and in GB... yum...

I wonder if Mr. and I can do this together, and I would have never thought to make a sand out of it...

I could eat 3 at one setting.. I sure do miss them..

Clumbsy Cookie said...

"Old" friendships are the best! Glad you has fun with your friend! I have yet to try whole wheat pretzels, but I'm sure I'm gonna love them, Nice to use them as a sandwich bun!

27Susans said...

Coincidentally, our local news station took a break from election news & reported on pretzels today. A big soft pretzel has as many as 650 calories!! (2x the calories of a hot dog and bun but not as scary.) Using WW flour is a healthy way to go.

Brandi said...

Oh my gosh my friend Tanji is FAMOUS!! I'm one of the "friends" from NC and you are right Tanji is still the most coolest fun person around. We love her a ton. Thanks for the fun stories and delicious recipe. I can't wait to make it with my kids. They will go crazy! And yea you should come visit us in NC and teach us how to cook up something FAB! Thanks for all your hard work on this site. It's a gem.

Prudy said...

Thanks Brandi! She sounds lucky to have you and your great circle of friends out there. Can't wait to meet you all some day.

Marilene said...

this may be silly, but can i just tell you that you have a beautiful color of skin tone. I see a picture of hands sometimes in with the food, and I get a tinge of jealousy! i have pale, freckly, wierd tone. so, enjoy your coloring!

Prudy said...

Marilene:
You are too kind. It's that old Italian blood of mine.

kate said...

I made the pretzels tonight and they turned out great. But when I put the baking soda in the water it boiled over everywhere. Does it have to be added when it's boiling?

They were great! Thanks for the recipe