This soft Whole Wheat Pretzels is vegan and can be made in about and hour.
This is not my usual post first thing in the New Year. Typically I go for something cleaner... like a lentil soup or something on the lighter side. Okay - usually a soup. And no, I am not making a grand statement. And certainly not a comment about New Year's resolutions. This has nothing to do with making a stand for eating carbs again - 😉 I never really stopped. Nor do I have any notion about 2017 and comfort and then so comfort foods. Nope, it is simply that over the last few months I've experiementd with yeasted breads and I just loved the way these soft pretzels turned out.
And maybe now that Christmas is over we can take a break from cookies for a bit... until next weekend maybe?
Yeasted breads can be a bit intimidating. There is a definite time commitment. And as much as I marvel at the chemistry involved in bread baking I've avoided it for years. I tried a bread machine several years ago and found it took some of the joy of baking bread away. Something about those square brick-shaped loaves kinda ruined home-made bread for me. And really since I have a stand mixer, the bread machine didn't help me out much anyway. So I gave the bread machine away and the yeast packets in my pantry expired.
This fall I attempted a basic pizza dough. Something I hadn't bothered with in a very long time. Then moved on to a few simple bread recipes I found online. And I'm hooked again. Baking bread is not has hard as it looks. This pretzel recipe takes about an hour - start to finish - and does not need any special steps or equipment. For this batch we made traditional pretzel twists - make a U-shape with a long rope of dough then bring the ends down towards you and cross them over each other to form a twist.
Once you have pretty shaped pretzels, they need a quick bath in boiling water to set the shape and create that perfect-pretzel-chewy-crust. Generously sprinkle the tops of each pretzel with coarse kosher or sea salt while it is still wet from the water bath. So the salt sticks.
This recipe makes 4-8 pretzels - depending on how big you like your pretzels. Consider this for movie night or a lazy Sunday afternoon. The kids can help you make this treat. Serve with your favourite sweet and spicy mustard or a beer and cheese sauce (not vegan).
A few notes about Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels:
- Serve these immediately. Let them cool just enough so you don't burn the roof of your mouth! 🙂 They are best hot from the oven. This recipe makes a small batch because keeping these for a day or two just does not work.
- Boiling the dough in water is essential if you want that chewy pretzel crust. They are not the same without this step.
- If you don't have bread flour (it's okay if you don't - they may be a bit softer without) you can use white all-purpose flour instead. You can use all-purpose white flour to replace both the bread flour and / or the whole wheat flour.
Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels (vegan)
to proof the yeast:
- 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast about half a package
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
for the pretzels
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- about six cups water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- coarse kosher or sea salt
Proof the yeast:
- Combine 1/4 cup warm water and maple syrup, then gently sprinkle yeast on top. Yeast should foam slightly. Let sit atleast 5 minutes while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
For the pretzels:
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine flour, salt, oil and yeast mixture. Add 1/2 cup of water and run mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes. Dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If mixing by hand, kneed dough for about 10 minutes by pulling and folding it onto itself.
- Remove the dough ball from the mixer bowl and knead a few times by hand. Wipe out the inside of bowl clean, if needed, and add a bit of olive oil to very lightly coat the inside of the bowl. Place the dough back into the bowl and turn it over a few time to get the dough coated with oil. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel.Let the dough sit undistrubed for about 40 minutes. Dough will double in size.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 and line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- After 40 minutes or so, punch down the dough. Be firm! Then cut dough into 4-8 equal pieces. I usually divide into 6.
ready water for boiling:
- Place 6 cups on to boil. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to water.
- While you wait for the water to come to a boil: roll each piece of dough into a long rope - about 18 inches long - and form into a pretzel shape (see above) and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Carefully drop pretzels, one at a time, into the boiling water. They will sink and then quickly start to float. Boil for 30 seconds. Carefully remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and set back onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle with coarse salt while still wet. Repeat with each pretzel.
- At the fattest part of the pretzel, take a sharp knife and cut a slit. The slit will open further while the preztel bakes. The slit makes them look pretty and also helps release some steam.
- Place pretzels in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes. They are ready when they are golden brown. The oven is very hot and they will go from ready to burnt quickly, so watch them carefully! Serve hot with your favourite dipping sauce.