soft pretzels
I’ve always loved soft pretzels but it never occurred to me to try to make them at home. it all started with a pretzel mix that i received as a gift. i had some extra pretzel salt from the mix and figured i’d try to make more pretzels from scratch. i found this recipe but wasn’t thrilled with the results so i just started experimenting. i’m pretty happy with this version and it’s been fun making these with the kids.
for the dough: 1.25 cups warm water | 1 oz brown sugar (about 2 tbsp) | 17.6 oz all-purpose flour (a touch over 3.75 cups) | 0.25 tsp granulated salt | 1 tsp instant yeast 
for dipping: bowl with 2 cups warm water and 4-5 tbsp baking soda
for topping: morton’s coarse kosher salt (or pretzel salt—but i haven’t been able to find any since i used up the stuff that came with the mix)
for brushing: 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
whisk salt into flour and whisk sugar into water
combine the wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add yeast
stir together with a wooden spoon until it turns shaggy then press into a dough ball by hand
knead for 3-5 minutes by hand then form a ball
put it in a lightly oiled, covered bowl and let rest until doubled (about 2 hours)
turn out dough ball onto a lightly oil-sprayed surface, deflate the dough and cut into 8 equal size pieces
roll each piece into a rope 20-30 inches long and form into a pretzel shape.  (keep the unrolled pieces covered so they don’t dry out)
put each formed pretzel on a lightly oiled baking sheet covered with plastic wrap or a cloth
let formed pretzels rest about 20 minutes and preheat oven to 500°F
prepare the water/baking soda bowl for dipping and dip each pretzel for 5-10 seconds and transfer it to a smooth dry towel (so the bottom isn’t wet)
from the towel, put each pretzel on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt
bake at 500°F for 5-6 minutes until golden brown
brush each pretzel with the melted butter 
serve while still warm!

soft pretzels

I’ve always loved soft pretzels but it never occurred to me to try to make them at home. it all started with a pretzel mix that i received as a gift. i had some extra pretzel salt from the mix and figured i’d try to make more pretzels from scratch. i found this recipe but wasn’t thrilled with the results so i just started experimenting. i’m pretty happy with this version and it’s been fun making these with the kids.

for the dough: 1.25 cups warm water | 1 oz brown sugar (about 2 tbsp) | 17.6 oz all-purpose flour (a touch over 3.75 cups) | 0.25 tsp granulated salt | 1 tsp instant yeast 

for dipping: bowl with 2 cups warm water and 4-5 tbsp baking soda

for topping: morton’s coarse kosher salt (or pretzel salt—but i haven’t been able to find any since i used up the stuff that came with the mix)

for brushing: 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  1. whisk salt into flour and whisk sugar into water
  2. combine the wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add yeast
  3. stir together with a wooden spoon until it turns shaggy then press into a dough ball by hand
  4. knead for 3-5 minutes by hand then form a ball
  5. put it in a lightly oiled, covered bowl and let rest until doubled (about 2 hours)
  6. turn out dough ball onto a lightly oil-sprayed surface, deflate the dough and cut into 8 equal size pieces
  7. roll each piece into a rope 20-30 inches long and form into a pretzel shape.  (keep the unrolled pieces covered so they don’t dry out)
  8. put each formed pretzel on a lightly oiled baking sheet covered with plastic wrap or a cloth
  9. let formed pretzels rest about 20 minutes and preheat oven to 500°F
  10. prepare the water/baking soda bowl for dipping and dip each pretzel for 5-10 seconds and transfer it to a smooth dry towel (so the bottom isn’t wet)
  11. from the towel, put each pretzel on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt
  12. bake at 500°F for 5-6 minutes until golden brown
  13. brush each pretzel with the melted butter 
  14. serve while still warm!
3-cheese potatoes au gratin with mushrooms
i was going to make baked potatoes and mushrooms but decided to try something new. i looked at a few recipes in advance but ended up cobbling this together.
3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced | 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced | ½ large sweet onion, diced | 1 tbsp oil | 8 oz extra sharp aged Cabot cheddar, shredded | 4 oz smoked gouda, shredded | 8 oz whole milk mozzarella, shredded | ¾ cup cream | ¾ cup whole milk | salt, pepper, & other spices to taste
(i used penzeys sandwich sprinkle which is a mix of garlic, salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and pepper.)
add oil to pan over medium heat
sauté mushrooms with onions and spices until they’ve released most of their liquid ~15 min
drain mushrooms and onions reserving all the liquid
butter a large au gratin dish
put a single layer of slightly overlapping potato slices in the dish
sprinkle ⅓ of the cheddar and gouda over the potato
distribute half of the drained mushroom and onion mixture
sprinkle ⅓ of the mozzarella over the mixture
repeat steps 5–8 for the second layer
put the last layer of slightly overlapping potato slices in the dish, reserving the remaining cheese
pour the reserved mushroom & onion liquid over top of the potatoes
pour the cream and milk over top of the potatoes
cover with tin foil
bake at 400 for 45 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered until the top layer of potatoes starts to brown
sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of all the cheeses on top
bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling

3-cheese potatoes au gratin with mushrooms

i was going to make baked potatoes and mushrooms but decided to try something new. i looked at a few recipes in advance but ended up cobbling this together.

3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced | 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced | ½ large sweet onion, diced | 1 tbsp oil | 8 oz extra sharp aged Cabot cheddar, shredded | 4 oz smoked gouda, shredded | 8 oz whole milk mozzarella, shredded | ¾ cup cream | ¾ cup whole milk | salt, pepper, & other spices to taste

(i used penzeys sandwich sprinkle which is a mix of garlic, salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and pepper.)

  1. add oil to pan over medium heat
  2. sauté mushrooms with onions and spices until they’ve released most of their liquid ~15 min
  3. drain mushrooms and onions reserving all the liquid
  4. butter a large au gratin dish
  5. put a single layer of slightly overlapping potato slices in the dish
  6. sprinkle ⅓ of the cheddar and gouda over the potato
  7. distribute half of the drained mushroom and onion mixture
  8. sprinkle ⅓ of the mozzarella over the mixture
  9. repeat steps 5–8 for the second layer
  10. put the last layer of slightly overlapping potato slices in the dish, reserving the remaining cheese
  11. pour the reserved mushroom & onion liquid over top of the potatoes
  12. pour the cream and milk over top of the potatoes
  13. cover with tin foil
  14. bake at 400 for 45 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered until the top layer of potatoes starts to brown
  15. sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of all the cheeses on top
  16. bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling
homemade cheez-it crackers.
i mostly followed From Away’s recipe which is based on the thin chef’s recipe which, in turn, is based on a recipe from Country Living. i also looked at A Cozy Kitchen’s recipe.  there are lots of other (mostly similar) variants around.
apparently, a lot of people want to make homemade cheez-its. who knew?
for the record: 1 c. flour | 4 tbsp frozen butter, cubed | 1/4 tsp salt | 1/4 tsp cayenne | 8 oz. shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese | 4-6 tbsp cold water | extra 2 pinches kosher salt
mix flour, butter, 3/4 tsp salt, cayenne, and cheese in food processor.
pulse until crumbly.
add water 1 tbsp a a time and pulse until dough comes together. (i used about 5 tbsp.)
wrap dough ball and chill in freezer for 30 min.
roll out dough to 1/4” thick, cut into crackers, dock the crackers and dust them with a pinch or two of kosher salt.
bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.
notes: i rolled the dough out directly on a silpat and used a plastic pizza knife to cut the crackers in place.  the crackers took 32 minutes and probably should have cooked another 3 minutes. next time i will try to roll the dough a bit thinner and make slightly larger crackers—but i’ll need to watch the time more carefully.

homemade cheez-it crackers.

i mostly followed From Away’s recipe which is based on the thin chef’s recipe which, in turn, is based on a recipe from Country Living. i also looked at A Cozy Kitchen’s recipe.  there are lots of other (mostly similar) variants around.

apparently, a lot of people want to make homemade cheez-its. who knew?

for the record: 1 c. flour | 4 tbsp frozen butter, cubed | 1/4 tsp salt | 1/4 tsp cayenne | 8 oz. shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese | 4-6 tbsp cold water | extra 2 pinches kosher salt

  1. mix flour, butter, 3/4 tsp salt, cayenne, and cheese in food processor.
  2. pulse until crumbly.
  3. add water 1 tbsp a a time and pulse until dough comes together. (i used about 5 tbsp.)
  4. wrap dough ball and chill in freezer for 30 min.
  5. roll out dough to 1/4” thick, cut into crackers, dock the crackers and dust them with a pinch or two of kosher salt.
  6. bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.

notes: i rolled the dough out directly on a silpat and used a plastic pizza knife to cut the crackers in place. the crackers took 32 minutes and probably should have cooked another 3 minutes. next time i will try to roll the dough a bit thinner and make slightly larger crackers—but i’ll need to watch the time more carefully.

garlic knots.  i definitely need to make these again. 
the recipe is loosely based on king arthur’s garlic knots but I don’t have their specialty ingredients.  i used about the same amount of dough but made only 12 knots instead of 16.  i couldn’t really imagine making them smaller.
dough: 1/4 cup milk, scalded :  3/4 cup water : 1 egg yolk : 2 tbsp oil : 13 oz all purpose flour (about 3 cups) : 1 1/4 tsp salt : 1 tbsp sugar : 4 tsp grated parmesan : 1/4 tsp garlic powder : 2 tsp instant yeast
glaze: 1.5 tbsp melted butter, grated parmesan, garlic salt, and italian seasoning sprinkled to taste
make dough in bread machine
roll dough to ~ 8” x 12” rectangle
cut into 12 strips, round the strips, and tie them into knots –  see the useful pictures of how to form the knots on king arthur’s blog
put the knots on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise
bake at 350 for about 18 minutes
brush with melted butter and sprinkle seasonings over top as desired

garlic knots.  i definitely need to make these again. 

the recipe is loosely based on king arthur’s garlic knots but I don’t have their specialty ingredients.  i used about the same amount of dough but made only 12 knots instead of 16.  i couldn’t really imagine making them smaller.

dough:
1/4 cup milk, scalded :  3/4 cup water : 1 egg yolk : 2 tbsp oil :
13 oz all purpose flour (about 3 cups) : 1 1/4 tsp salt : 1 tbsp sugar :
4 tsp grated parmesan : 1/4 tsp garlic powder :
2 tsp instant yeast

glaze:
1.5 tbsp melted butter,
grated parmesan, garlic salt, and italian seasoning sprinkled to taste

  1. make dough in bread machine
  2. roll dough to ~ 8” x 12” rectangle
  3. cut into 12 strips, round the strips, and tie them into knots – see the useful pictures of how to form the knots on king arthur’s blog
  4. put the knots on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise
  5. bake at 350 for about 18 minutes
  6. brush with melted butter and sprinkle seasonings over top as desired

cinnamon rolls. i made these a few days ago and hope to make them again this week.

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autumn

autumn

i keep thinking that my thumb is as big as my big toe and i keep being surprised when it isn’t.  (i was struck by this again today when i found a cut on the bottom of my big toe.)

i keep thinking that my thumb is as big as my big toe and i keep being surprised when it isn’t. (i was struck by this again today when i found a cut on the bottom of my big toe.)

mossy rock in the water

mossy rock in the water

all that remains

all that remains