Easy Bake Coven – There’s an Amish joke in here somewhere.

4 10 2009
Deceptively simple

Deceptively simple

We’re in a baking club, and this is the story of a soft pretzel.

I am not much of a soft pretzel fan.  Frankly they just taste like regular white bread most of the time, but I am a fan of fake cheese.  So much like a stale corn chip, I will tolerate the soft pretzel if only to use it as an excuse to eat some cheese, the kind that you pump.

E does like soft pretzels, and on a little trip to Philadelphia, he got to watch some Amish folks make them.  And then he got to eat one. He really liked it.  (It is at this point that I intended to share a picture of E eating the aforementioned pretzel.  However, I can’t find it anywhere and am guessing it is trapped on the computer that died a slow death.  Please close your eyes and imagine E in a gentleman’s cap eating a soft pretzel while a guy with lots of facial hair flings pretzel dough around in the background.)

That long story was all to say, “We had mixed feelings about this challenge.”

We chose the mall-pretzel variety.  I’m often skeptical of those Food Network folk and their recipes.  I am scared that there might be Sandra Lee cooties somewhere around that rubbed off.

We followed the instructions exactly except for the final touches (fresh Parmesan and basil) and an egg wash before it went in the oven, and were only slightly stumped when it came to kneading the bread.   I know what texture to look for when making a loaf of bread and rolls but was uncertain about the desired texture for pretzels.  It seemed to all work out in the end though, with the final product having a decent density.

That brings me to the final product.  Have a look.

I say pretzel; you say pizza.

Does that look like a pretzel to you?

If I hadn’t had a mercy killing of my old computer I could then show you the picture of that Amish pretzel, and you would agree with me.  That does not look like a pretzel.  It looks like a cinnamon roll or maybe a mini-pizza.

My thought is that we did not roll the ropes of dough out to be thin enough, and I let it rise too long the second time.  But I found these little cinnamon roll/mini-pizza/pretzels kind of endearing.  Joyful little suckers, puffing up, refusing to keep their shape, all puff and no restraint.  And because they looked like cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon rolls need toppings, and because we have a mighty basil plant on our fire escape that refuses to die despite our best efforts to neglect it, we topped those puppies with fresh Parmesan and basil and called it done.  (How do you even punctuate a sentence like that?) The cheese didn’t come out of a pump, and there wasn’t a guy with crazy sideburns to do the twisty-flippy bit in the air with the dough, but I must admit I kind of liked them, even if again they were just another bready vessel for delicious cheese.

That basil is magic.

That basil is magic.




2 responses

4 10 2009
The Lovely Lady Baker

Yeah! I’m so glad you ended up making them! I love that they became little puffs of indistinguishable dough, and that you were able to eat them with basil from your porch. (I should make use of my roof). Lovely Lovely. Great job!

5 10 2009
D.T. aka Mom

This blog post took away most of the gray, cloudy day that I had today. Thanks for making me smile and chuckle even across the miles

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