Soft Pretzels

Well, fall is coming. I always feel the need to start baking when the weather gets cool. This morning I tried my hand at soft pretzels. I thought I would share my recipe. They turned out really good.

1 1/2 cups warm water – don’t use the microwave to heat the water because it gets too hot
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour – all purpose
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to foam. Add the butter and flour mix until combined. I use the hook attachment on low speed and then switch to medium speed. Continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This takes a few minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Place in a warm place for an hour. It should double in size.

Grease two baking sheets and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425.

Bring baking soda and 10 cups of water to a bowl in a large dutch oven.

Place the dough onto an oiled surface slightly flatten with your hand and cut in to 9 pieces.
Roll each piece in to a long rope 18 – 24 inches. Fold in to a pretzel shape and set aside. Place the pretzels one by one in to the boiling water. This is foam. Remove from the water after 20 seconds and place on the baking sheet. Brush the pretzel with beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until brown in color. Baking should take approximately 12 – 15 minutes.

Enjoy!
pretzels

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Savory Asparagus Pasta

SAVORY ASPARAGAS PASTAImage

1 cup of bow tie pasta

½ chopped onion, yellow or white

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. pepper

6 stalks of asparagus tops – use the small ones and just the top half

1/8 cup heavy cream or whole milk

1 Tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Vegetarian Italian sausage – you can use brats or Italian sausage

Olive oil

Parmesan Reggiano – grated

Chop the garlic and the onion and set aside.  Cook the pasta to al dente and the asparagus about three minutes.  Rinse the asparagus in cold water and set aside.

In a skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the sausage, red pepper flakes, onions and garlic and cook thoroughly.   Next add the red wine vinegar and the balsamic vinegar.  Continue cooking over medium heat.  Add the heavy cream, salt and pepper.   Stir and reduce the heat to low.  Cook about two or three minutes and then add the asparagus and parsley. 

You can add more sausage or asparagus if you wish to this dish. 

Place in to serving dish and grate Parmesan Reggiano cheese on the top.  Enjoy!