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