Ok, so I think we've established that I am not a baker. I am a cook. I have not the patience to measure everything just so. I am, like my sidebar says, a "throw it in there and it will probably taste good" type of cook. So things like making bread--or really just using yeast in general--are intimidating to me. I can make a batch of cookies or a cake, but they never turn out as good as my cooking concoctions. But I have been trying to branch out, and when I saw this recipe over at Sugarlaws, I was sold.
Who ever thinks about making soft pretzels at home? Soft pretzels are something you buy with neon-orange "cheese product" at a baseball game, or from a stand in the mall. It makes me laugh that making something like this at home never really occurred to me. When I saw her post, I was like, "Oh yeah! I guess you can make that stuff at home."
And guess what? It was really easy.
Here we have my pretzel-making assembly line. Once the dough has risen and rested, you roll it out into long logs. Here I am rolling the logs. Look at my fat little hands! Neither of my parents are tall, and I inherited all that is short and squatty. My feet are so wide they're nearly webbed, my torso is short and round, I stand 5'2" on a good day, and my hands match the rest of me.
Next, you take the pretzel dough-logs and twist them into pretzel shapes. No need to be perfect here--these are homemade and can therefore be termed "rustic," which is what I like to call "I have no idea how to make a pretzel shape, so here's my best go at it."
After they're rolled, the pretzels take a short bath in a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Then they're sprinkled with salt. Their rustic appearance doesn't matter, because once they come out of the oven looking like this, you wouldn't care if they resembled Godzilla. All you wanna do is cram them in your face. Really, they are best warm right out of the oven. And with a touch of dijon or Monastery Mustard, they are simply delightful.
Ok, Mr. Pretzel, you're ready for your close-up.