Tag Archives: baking

Healthy Soft Pretzels…mmmm

Now that the weather has cooled, I’m more in the mood for baking. Last week I saw a post that gave me an idea. Soft bread sticks from a Betty Crocker recipe are already in my repertoire. I realized I could use that same recipe to make baked soft pretzels. Plus, I just bought a silicone baking mat and wanted to try it out. The real selling point is that they’re supposed to allow you to roll out doughs without sticking.

I won’t go through all the blow-by-mix instructions because it’s easy enough to find recipes online.

I used 1 1/3 water to dissolve the equivalent of a yeast packet (2.5 teaspoons), a little canola oil, a little honey, 2.5 cups whole wheat flour & 1 cup white flour. And a bit of coarse sea salt to throw over the prepared pretzels prior to baking (although to be honest, I forgot about the salt & hastily pulled the baking sheet back out of the oven just in time to add it 😯). That’s it for ingredients.

Risen dough

The Betty Crocker recipe said to make 24 portions so that’s what I did

 

After rolling the dough into a skinny strip, I followed pretzel-shaping instructions I found online

Give it a second twist

Then – and this is clever – FOLD the twisted half over so it sits atop the dough

 

20 baked soft pretzels

 

The bottom, golden brown

Because I started with 24 little dough balls, I had four leftover that I baked separately on a toaster oven sized pan. That worked out nicely because I promptly ate those four with a bit of hummus. OH-MI-GOD. So good!

I enjoyed using the silicone baking mat; the dough truly didn’t stick and it made the whole process easier. I’m curious how well it’d handle a pie dough. Due to very limited counter space I needed to move the dish drainer somewhere else but didn’t mind. And although I might have thought rolling out & shaping pretzels would be tedious, I found it cathartic. The Zen of Pretzel Making.

Let’s eat!

I am always in love with food but during the pandemic I’m besotted. I know I’m not alone. You know how everything tastes like cardboard when you’re grieving? I’ve decided this is the opposite: everything tastes FABULOUS.

The TV pundits say we’re eating out of boredom. I dunno. I’m not bored. Many things but not bored. We comfort ourselves with food too. That’s long-standing wisdom. I am comforted by food but this isn’t mindless eating I’m talking about, where someone shovels things in without really even tasting it or even knowing quite what they ate. It’s pleasure, a reward for living, for doing what has to be done. Sleep, food and sex are life’s essential rewards, right? I mean it doesn’t say it in the Constitution but that’s how I see it. Some people consider one or two or all three of that trio bothersome. I don’t understand such people.πŸ˜€

If you stayed with me during the quarantine you’d eat well. I’ve made salmon vegetable soup, bisquits, pancakes, crepes, pan and deep-dish “Grandma’s Pizza”, pumpkin raisin muffins, lemon bread, spaghetti, linguine with kalamata olives & artichoke hearts, salmon loaf with wild rice, ziti & tuna with green olives & garlic, twice-baked potatoes mixed with sour cream & chives, healthy cookies, sesame noodles, chickpea/crushed tomatoes/pumpkin soup with lemon juice & curry, and even johnny-cakes — these are made of cornmeal & boiling water and then cooked in a big skillet. I had a bag of cornmeal in the fridge with a “best by” date of Sept 2019. It looked ok to me.😊

The main thing I want and am not having are the big-ass salads that are mainstays in my “cuisine.” I just think lettuce is too iffy now. You can’t cook it or scrub it so I’ve tearfully eliminated lettuce for the time being. It’s not like lettuce, with its various recalls and E. coli outbreaks didn’t already have enough troubles.πŸ˜•

I’m also craving shellfish and cheesecake. Not necessarily together. Those aren’t going to be happening either.

I’m fortunate to not be worried about food.

I think food should be front and center in life and too often its role is afterthought or even chore. That’s all wrong; we are nothing without food and it deserves to be lauded and celebrated. I’m on it.

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