With the cold and wet weather this past weekend (as well as street closures due to the Oscars which created a traffic nightmare), I knew it would be a great time to stay in and get some cooking done. I wanted a fun project and since I haven't unpacked my books in my move, I turned to a book that was just sent to me a few days ago, courtesy of Amazon. I've long been obsessed with the Food Porn Daily site and drool over their luscious pictures and delicious sounding recipes, well, daily. I was so excited to learn the people behind it created a book that's just as beautiful as the website and with recipes! This was my first time making pretzels and while plain salted pretzels are fine, I loved the idea of kicking them up with rosemary and mustard seeds. I had a bit of difficulty transferring the pretzels from the pan to the boiling dish and back to the pan, but eventually I figured out a system. I loved the herbacious flavor of these, but at the same time, it's not overwhelming. In my opinion the best mustard to serve these with is spicy sweet, but by all means, figure out what works best for you.
Rosemary and Sea Salt Soft Pretzels
(Adapted from Martha Stewart and Food Porn Daily)
Makes 12 pretzels
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons butter melted for brushing
Vegetable oil for baking sheets
3 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
Assorted mustards, for serving
Mix yeast, kosher salt, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Mix flour and cayenne in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Slowly pour the yeast mixture over the flour, stirring to combine. Use your hands to gather the dough together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope. Form a U-shape with one rope and twist the ends together twice. Fold the twisted portion backward along the center of the U-shape to form a circle, then gently press the ends of the rope on to the dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Return the pretzels to the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with some of the salt, then rosemary, and then mustard seeds. Bake 10-15 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown and cooked through. Brush each pretzel with melted butter and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with assorted mustards.