Friday, November 6, 2009
I have issues with yeast. You can read more about my issues with food here.
But this post is about yeast in particular. Yeast frightens me. It is alive! And high maintenance! And can explode! Which it has, several times, on the rare occasion that I've been brave enough to bake.
What could possibly make me, a bona-fide Yeast-o-phobe, break out those little packets?
Three full days spent snowed in with small children.
Now doesn't that above sentence strike complete terror into your heart?
I don't know how Mama stayed sane during those North Dakota winters, because after just ONE full day of "snowed in with small children," I was stark-raving mad.
There aren't enough cocktails and episodes of Spongebob on the planet to get me through 3 days of "snowed in with small children."
I totally understand now why some animals eat their young.
Instead of noshing on them, however, I decided to put their busy little fingers to work kneading dough and shaping it into pretzel form.
~And yes, I am going to get that child a haircut soon. And yes, that is a hideously messy table littered with art supplies in the background. Three full days with small children killed my house. Killed it.
Whole Wheat Pretzels
makes about 1 dozen
recipe from My A to Z Recipe Box by Hilary Shevlin Karmilowicz
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet of yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
Coarse salt, sesame seeds or cinnamon sugar (we picked the latter)
In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, salt and yeast. Mix well.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk, brown sugar and cooking oil. Heat until warm but not hot!
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add the whole wheat flour and mix well. Mixture will be slightly sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and let the dough rise in a warm, dry place for 1 1/2 hours.*
Heat the oven to 475. Punch the dough down. Cover it again and let it rest for ten minutes.
Pull off handfuls of the dough and roll them into long snake-like ropes. This takes concentration, folks!!
Twist the ropes into any shape you like. I was the only person who opted for the traditional shape.
Place each pretzel on a greased baking sheet.
Brush each pretzel with melted butter and sprinkle with salt, sesame seed or cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve with melted butter for dipping and (if you pick the sweet option)extra cinnamon sugar on the side.
* A smart mommy would not announce the Making Pretzel Activity until after this step. Trust this dumb mommy, who did not do that, and then had to hear, "Is it done yet? Is it done yet?" every 10 minutes for an hour and a half.
We managed to pick up an extra kid or two by the time the shaping step came around...yeah, that's what other housebound neighbors do when their kids are making them nuts...they send them to my house. So *I* can contemplate beating the shit out of them.
Actually, they were very excited and very well-behaved during the Making Pretzel Activity. And they got quite creative with their shapes!
I was afraid that my dough wouldn't rise, because I got my milk a little too warmish, but for once, yeast behaved. Maybe yeast took pity on me for once, because I was obviously desperate.
The girls scarfed the pretzels down and had a blast playing with the dough. And Stark-Raving-Mad-Mommy got to feel kind of like SuperHero Mommy for an afternoon. And those afternoons are few and far between.