Chewy PretzelsHere’s a complete delight. Everyone will celebrate the “Chewy Pretzels” from the September/October 2016 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipe below). And really, you need to set aside, perhaps, only two hours or so to achieve this greatness.

Chewy Pretzels
Cuisine at Home, September/October 2016
Makes 6 pretzels

2 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. rye flour
1.69 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 tsp. kosher salt

.94 cup water
2 1/4 tsp. grapeseed oil
2 1/2 tsp. dark brown sugar

6 cups water
3 Tbsp. baking soda

1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water

Pretzel or coarse salt

Coat a bowl with nonstick spray.

Whisk together flours and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, then whisk in kosher salt.

Combine .94 cup water, oil, and brown sugar; add to flour mixture. Mix dough on medium speed with a dough hook until combined and dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 4 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (and not sticky), adding flour if necessary.

Place dough in prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight). Punch dough down, divide into six even portions, and cover with plastic wrap.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with racks in top and bottom thirds. Generously coat two baking sheets with nonstick spray.

Boil 6 cups water in a large pot; stir in baking soda.

Roll one portion of dough into a 30-inch rope (with floured hands if necessary); rest and reroll if rope shrinks. Shape rope into a “U,” cross ends twice, then bring twisted ends over and press to firmly seal (see: thekitchn).

Add pretzel to boiling water solution. Boil pretzel 30 seconds, then flip and boil 30 seconds more. Transfer pretzel to prepared baking sheet using a skimmer. Repeat rolling, shaping, and boiling with remaining portions of dough.

Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, then brush on pretzels. Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt.

Bake pretzels until golden, 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let pretzels rest 10 minutes on baking sheets before serving.

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Enjoy using the dough hook in your stand mixer. The covered dough will rise in an hour or so, to double in size. Sneak a sniff to smell the fantastic yeast: it’s intense, like beer.

Truly, it’s easy to roll and twist the pretzels, one at a time. Boil your water and baking soda in a pot small enough to have the depth needed to flip that one pretzel at a time. Indeed, the pretzels firm up in this minute-long boil. Then, they’ll wait for you on the baking sheets. Brush the egg wash and sprinkle the salt (know that coarse salt is saltier than pretzel salt).

Bake and rotate these two pretzel sheets for 15 minutes. The pretzels transform into their perfect pretzel color.

Oh, the rewards. Smell and taste the ideal joys and pleasures that only yeast can give us. This is a fantastic exercise, folks. Live it.

PREP TIME: dough rises in an hour; roll pretzels, boil each for one minute, bake for 15 minutes
TASTE: perfect, salty, pretzel chew

Allow me to coast on this pretzel high, in order to bake a cake, next time. I want to try the “Pear Honey Rosemary Bundt Cake,” from the Fall 2016 issue of Bake From Scratch (recipe below). Come back to my site next week, to delve into the magical world of milk and honey with me.

Pear Honey Rosemary Bundt Cake
Bake From Scratch, Fall 2016
Makes 1 (10-cup) bundt cake

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and divided
2 cups peeled and chopped pear
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup honey
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with baking spray, then flour.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add pear and rosemary; cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are soft. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar, vanilla and remaining 1 cup of butter with a stand mixer at medium speed till fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and the salt. In a small bowl, stir together milk and honey. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in pear mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and let cool completely. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.