How about a little change of pace. A recent episode of Throwdown on the Food Network pitted Bobby Flay against the pretzel king of Philadelphia. I forget who won, but that part doesn’t matter. Seeing tray after tray of hot, soft pretzels was all the motivation Elisabeth and I needed, the next morning we were in the kitchen whipping up a batch of doughy goodness. Finally a way to use up my oversized bag of whole wheat pastry flour! Anyone else have SuperPretzels as a kid? A few minutes in the microwave and bam! you had a hot pretzel in no time. You can do the same with these pretzels. Simply freeze them after baking and microwave or bake in the oven to bring them back to life. These pretzels turned out divine! Be sure to whip up a batch of Cinnamon Currant Peanut Butter to spread on top, you won’t be sorry!
Sea salt or cinnamon and sugar, for topping
1. Combine 2 cups warm water, 2 cups flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes.
2. Stir in the honey, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and work in the remaining dough, 2 spoonfuls at a time, until the dough comes together and is elastic but not sticky: I used about another 1/2 cup flour. Lightly grease the large bowl and place the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface again and divide into four equal chunks. Work with one chunk at a time (place the other chunks back in the bowl and covered) and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece to about 24-30 inches in length, cross the ends and place down in the middle, forming a pretzel shape.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place about 4 cups of warm water in a medium-sized pot and stir in 3T baking soda. Dip each formed pretzel into the baking soda and water solution and place on the tray, leaving an inch of space on each side of the pretzel. Sprinkle pretzels with salt or cinnamon and sugar (2 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon) and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Should make 12 good-sized pretzels.
Freezing Tip – Wrap each pretzel in tinfoil and place them in a large sealed bag in the freezer. To resurrect, defrost the pretzel in a smaller sealed bag at room temperature (~2 hours or overnight). Then, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake it in the foil wrapping for 10-12 minutes. For a quicker pretzel, take a frozen pretzel, remove the foil and microwave on high for exactly 1 minute.