Friday, June 24, 2011

Further kneading

This post title brought to you not only by yet another bread-making session, but also by Ferdydurke, which continues to be awesome. What to read next, The Man Died or An Unfortunate Woman?

The Amalgamated Quizbowl Practice Dessert of the Week is cinnamon sugar pretzel bites that do not have the greasy buttery mouthfeel of your mall-stand pretzel (or, to be fair, the same almost disturbing degree of buttery flavor) but do have that characteristic chew and crunchy, tooth-melting sugar coating.

Peter Reinhart's pretzel method is appealing for a few reasons: no poaching, no room-temperature rise that would require me to be home from work early in order to implement, no egg wash. But in every photo I saw of pretzels made according to the simple baking soda bath rather than one-minute poach, the pretzels had a bilious pallor rather than a rich brown color, and even though I wanted to coat them in cinnamon sugar, I also wanted there to be a polar bear-dark skin underneath. Furthermore, how to coat them with cinnamon sugar? I could toss them in butter and then in sugar post-baking, but I wasn't confident in the sticking ability of the butter, and plus, holy god how could you toss anything in butter and feed it to people and still be able to respect yourself in the morning as a future physician? Solution: poach the Reinhart-method dough, use a cornstarch-and-butter glaze so as not to waste an egg* or impart the greasiness of mass production to the pretzels, and liberally douse the pretzel bites in cinnamon sugar immediately after their hot baking soda water and buttery cornstarch spa treatments.

34 ounces of pretzel dough
One teeeeny pretzel!
What do you think of the results?

Yeah, me, neither. Still not dark enough... maybe I just didn't leave them in the oven for sufficient time?

*Seriously, this cornstarch thing is my new favorite baking glaze.

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