Cooking with Soft Water: Homemade PretzelsJune 20, 2018
Reminiscent of baseball games, movie theaters and family outings, soft pretzels are a staple of American culture in summer. Making them at home takes just a few ingredients and about eight minutes in the oven. It may sound strange, but the perfect pretzel comes from using water treated by a water softener. Soft water lacks high levels of calcium and magnesium. This ensures that food cooked using soft water will have a true flavor, untainted by the presence of these minerals.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need, thanks to a recipe from All Recipes:
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 4 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
Then, follow the instructions below! Using soft water, for this recipe ensures that the dough won’t be stiff. Hard water makes the dough less pliable.
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets.
- In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.
Although this recipe takes a bit of time for the dough to rise, the end result is well worth it! Who knew a water softener could make food so tasty? Kinetico San Antonio water systems ensure a great result every time!
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