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Pretzels

May 09, 2018

[Recipe makes 8 pretzels].

I know what you're thinking...  How in the world could we post this same picture back in August for our cheese sauce recipe, but not include the recipe for the pretzels for almost nine more months!  It's madness, we agree, but your patience has paid off.

Soft pretzels accompanied by cheese sauce is an absolute match made in heaven.  No matter your age, the combination just makes you feel good.  But what's one to do if they're vegan?  Luckily, we solved the (vegan) cheese sauce dilemma last year.  And as far as veganizing the pretzels, all we need to do is replace the egg wash for something else.  We've tried both coconut oil and aquafaba, and the aquafaba seems to be our current choice.

We know it's a little annoying to have to open up a can of chickpeas every time a recipe calls for aquafaba, so here's a little tip to save you the hassle.  Each time you open up a can, transfer all of the aquafaba to an ice cube tray and transfer to the freezer.  Each time you need just a little bit, pop out a cube of aquafaba, thaw, and you're good to go!

INGREDIENTS:

680 grams (~5 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
35 grams vegetable shortening
369 grams warm water

(up to) 2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 quarts (12 cups) water
3/4 cups baking soda

Aquafaba (for 'egg' wash)
Coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Before you get started with the dough, there's a few things that need to be done.  First, preheat the oven to 425° F.  Next, place two oven-safe cooling racks on to two rimmed baking sheets.  Spray the cooling racks with cooking spray to keep the pretzels from sticking.  Last, whisk your water and baking soda together in a large pot, and turn the heat to high to achieve a boil.

In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a hook attachment, add the flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable shortening, and warm water.  Mix on low until a dough is formed.  If the dough seems too dry, add additional water, one teaspoon at a time.  Once a dough is formed, add the salt and continue mixing on low until a smooth dough is formed, roughly 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a counter, and divide the dough into eight equal pieces. If you're a fan of using a food scale, aim for about 142 grams for each pretzel.  Form the individual dough piles into balls, and then cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Start to roll the balls into ropes that are roughly 30-inches long, and then shape into a classic twist.  [Side note:  If the dough ever seems like it's tearing rather than stretching out while you're rolling it, just give it a few more minutes to relax].

When all of your pretzels are ready, begin dropping them into the boiling water, two at a time.  Let them boil for 15 seconds, and then remove with a spider and transfer to the cooling racks.  Continue with the remaining six pretzels, placing four pretzels on each cooling rack.  Brush with aquafaba, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and transfer to the oven.  Bake for roughly 15 minutes total, making sure to rotate the pans (both vertically and axially) several times to promote even browning.

Let the pretzels rest at least 15 minutes before enjoying with some cheese sauce or mustard.

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