This weekends baking...

This weekend I did a fair amount of baking. There was the old standby transitional whole wheat bread made with butter milk from Peter's book.

I also did pretzel rolls. I got a new baking book a month or so ago called Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas. The book is an excellent technical manual by the founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute. I took the recipe for pretzels from the book and modified it to use rye flour. This is different from my other pretzel recipe because it uses a pre-ferment called a Poolish to add an additional flavor component. The recipe will be at the end of this blog post.

The last baking I did this weekend was to make cranberry scones with orange zest. I used the butter scone recipe from the Advanced Bread and Pastry book but I used Alton Brown's "Biscuit Method" from his book "I'm Just Here For More Food". By using Alton's method, the scones come out very light and flakey. According to my official taste tester (aka my wife), this produces a result that is so pleasing, she needs a moment alone afterward.

Soft Rye Pretzels - Take II


1.75 oz bread flour
1.75 oz water
1/8 tsp instant yeast

Mix together Poolish ingredents and let stand lightly covered at room temperature for approximatly 12 hours. It will be ready to use when it is very bubbly.

Final Dough

12.70 oz bread flour
4.00 oz white rye flour
0.80 oz wheat gluten
0.50 oz non-diastatic malt powder
0.15 oz instant yeast
0.40 oz salt
all Poolish
5.15 oz water (body temperature)
5.15 oz milk (body temperature)
0.50 oz butter (melted)

Water Bath

1 oz salt
3 oz baking soda
1 quart (approx) water

Combine the dry ingredents in a large bowl and add the Poolish. In a microwave safe dish, warm the water and milk until just body temperature (approx 95 degrees). If you want you can include the butter to soften it. Otherwise melt the butter until soft but not liquid.

Mix together until you have a rough dough and then turn out onto a well floured board and knead for approximatly 8 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes while you prepare a clean bowl with spray oil. Knead for another 2 minutes and then form a tight ball.

Place in clean oiled bowl and cover with plastic film to ferment for approximatly 1 hour until the dough increases by 1 1/2 times. Before the end of fermentation, prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with oil. This will help release the pretzel shapes when it is time to boil them

After fermenting, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Form each into a small ball and let rest for 5 minutes. After resting, roll each into a 3/8" - 1/2" diameter rope approximately 18" long and then form into a pretzel shape. If the dough is still to elastic, let rest for a few minutes and then continue rolling.

Place pretzel shapes on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper for proofing. Loosely cover with cling wrap while proofing. Proof for 1 hour until the dough expands from 3/8" to approx 3/4" diameter. While the dough is proofing, prepare a water bath by placing the water, salt and baking soda in a large stainless steel pot.

NOTE - Do not us an aluminum pot because the baking soda will react with aluminum.

Bring water to boil and stir to dissolve salt and baking soda. Reduce the temp so the water is just at a light boil. Before you start processing the pretzels in the water bath, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

After the pretzels have proofed, place them one at a time in the water bath; letting one side in the water for 30 seconds and then flipping them with a large sloted spoon. After the other side has cooked for 30 seconds, remove from water and place on baking sheet again. After all pretzels have been processed, place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans for even baking. Continue baking for approximately another 15 minutes until the pretzels take on a dark brown color. Let cool 20 minutes before eating.

Makes 12 - 5" pretzels. Can also make 8 Kaiser style rolls.

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