Kamis, 21 Oktober 2010

Baking Day

When my daughter left for college last week, she wanted to take two things with her: Homemade Pretzels and Pumpkin Bread. So I heated the oven and started baking.

Those Pretzel are wonderful fluffy and moist. The dough is fun to work with, like Play-dooh and they freeze very well.

German Pretzel
(adapted from Alton Brown)
makes 8 Pretzel

1 ½ cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil, for pan

10 cups water

 cup baking soda

1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water (I don't use the egg wash)

Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. 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 lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

German Pumpkin Bread

This bread is not a traditional pumpkin bread. It is more like a fluffy white bread with a sweet taste of pumpkin. It tastes great with a little butter or jam.

Pumpkin Bread
1 big loaf 

500 g All Purpose Flour
200 g Butternut Squash Pumkin, peeled, cut in pieces
65 ml Milk
65 g Butter, melted
65 ml water
6 g Yeast (I used SAF-Instant Yeast)
Pinch of Salt
1  Egg
100 g Sugar

Cook the pumpkin pieces in a little water until they are soft, drain and puree them in a blender or food processor and let them cool a little.
Mix flour, Yeast and Salt in a bowl.

Mix the liquids.

Add the liquids, the pumpkin puree and the egg to the flour and knead until you have a smooth dough.
You can do this in a Kitchen Aid. Add more flour if the dough is very sticky.

Preheat your oven to 350 F Bake or 320F Convection with a rack in the middle.
Put dough in a bowl, slightly oiled, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (approx. 30 min.) Form to a desired shape a bread or rolls. Let rest again a couple of minutes.

Grease a big loaf pan, add the bread and bake for approx. 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

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