Pretzels #1/3

I could eat bread all day... and the only thing better than bread is bread with butter. But, I've never learned how to properly bake bread. It's an intimidating thing to me- growing yeast, feeding it (?!), proofing has felt like a difficult skill to master.
  • Ingredients
    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • 2 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1.5 cups water, 110F
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1.5 Tablespoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon oil
    • 2 Tablespoon baking soda
    • 2 cups hot water
  • Procedure
    • I mixed the yeast, sugar and 1.5 cups of water in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes
    • After the yeast mixture began to foam I added the flour, salt, and oil. Then mix until a loose dough formed. 
    • I turned out the dough and kneaded until the dough was soft and springy; I started timing this and lost track, but I kept going and added the slightest amount of flour until the dough was not sticking to the table and was soft to the touch. 
    • I oiled a bowl, set the dough inside and flipped the dough over so all sides were lightly coated in oil. I set aside and let proof for 40 minutes. 
    • Close to the end of the proof, I mixed the baking soda and hot water in a shallow pan. 
    • After the dough proofed I turned the dough out and cut into 8 pieces using a bench scraper. 
    • Each section was rolled into a long rope, trying to get to a few feet in length. Towards the end of this process, I realized I could use gravity to help me stretch out the rope to a longer length making for a thinner rope. 
    • I twisted the dough into a pretzel shape and placed it into the baking soda water for a few seconds. Then placed the wet dough onto a baking tray.
    • The pretzels were baked at 450F for 8 minutes, till they were golden brown. 
    • Once out of the oven I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled salt on top. 
What I would do differently
  • I would do a longer proof, maybe even close to 2 hours
  • Strive for a thinner rope; the thicker the rope is the more it looks like a pretzel bun instead of the distinct pretzel shape. 

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