Ok, so two out of three isn’t bad, and to be honest, 3 years ago we would have been lucky to get one of these. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Michigan Wolverine football season, and, thanks to spending 2 years in Ann Arbor pursuing a Master’s Degree, I am completely tuned in, much to the chagrin of my dad, and, well, most of my family. See, this year marks the first year that the Nebraska Cornhuskers are a part of the Big 10, and my family, well they are, to a man, die hard Cornhusker fans. So there is a bit of a (friendly) rivalry between me and everyone.* But that’s ok, we have more championships than they do. However, the point here is not to highlight the superiority of being a Wolverine, its food, and nothing goes better with the start of college football, pro football, or cheerleader-watching, than beer and pretzels. The beer choice I leave to you because I’m sticking to my hard cider, but let me give you an easy and delicious soft pretzel recipe and an complimenting horseradish dipping sauce to go with that beer.
*I’m hoping to be able to make “eat mud” pie immediately following the Michigan-Nebraska game in November, and not humble pie.
Adapted from Alton Brown, Good Eats
1.5 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package yeast
4.5 cups bread flour
2 ounces/5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
Kosher salt for dusting
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1) Combine water, sugar, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top of mixture. Allow it to sit until the mixture begins to foam.
2) Using the dough hook attachment, mix in flour and butter until well combined.
3) Turn out dough on to clean counter and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
4) Place in oiled bowl, cover, and place in a warm space to rise until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
5) Preheat oven to 450° and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, brushed with olive oil.
6) Bring 10 cups water and baking soda to a rolling boil.
7) Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each section into a 2-foot rope. Holding the ends of the dough form a U-shape and then cross the ends over each other and press firmly to the bottom of the U, creating a pretzel shape.
8) Boil pretzels, one-by-one, in the baking soda water. Remove after 30 seconds using a large spatula. Place on the oiled parchment, brush with egg, and sprinkle with salt. I didn’t have any parchment paper around, so I used my standby, brown paper heavily sprayed with oil. Learn from my mistake – don’t use it because some little pieces of paper just wouldn’t come off.
………………………………just a little more
9) Once all pretzels are boiled, put in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Horseradish Dipping Sauce
½ cup low fat sour cream
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons (or more if you are like me) prepared horseradish
Splash of lemon juice
1) Stir all ingredients together and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
These pretzels turned out amazing, albeit a bit bigger than I expected. I may split the dough into 9 or even 10 pieces and still roll it out to about 2 feet. They were great dipped in the dipping sauce or a spicy mustard.