Last week I treated myself to yet another cookbook, Ruhlman's Twenty.
(While collecting cookbooks appears to be a long-standing addiction [500 and counting], I'm not ready for any interventions. I still have empty rooms to fill!)
The first tool/technique in the book is Thinking.
I do a lot of that, all the time. I'm experienced at thinking. I make my living by thinking.
I'm usually well-prepared when I cook or bake, but I believe there is always something to learn.
So, when I participated in this month's Bread Baking Buddy event, I decided to test my thinking abilities.
Making soft pretzels requires a variety of steps -- making the dough, letting it rise and rest, shaping the pretzels, giving them a bath, brushing them with an egg wash, then baking them. To do this successfully, you need to be efficient and coordinated, having your mise en place and equipment ready to go.
For the water bath part, each time I put in a pretzel, I thought about how to improve the process. By the end, I would place a pretzel up-side down, by hand, in the simmering soda water, push the 15-second button on my timer, then flip it over with the spider, count another 15 seconds, then fish it out and place it neatly on the rack.
The process went very smoothly, thanks to extra thinking. All pretzels were made and baked in slightly over two hours. I sprinkled half of them with Kosher salt, and the other half with cinnamon sugar. Twelve hand-sized soft pretzels, just perfect for a snack.
September's Babe hostess was Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms. Check out her blog for the recipe and to find the links to the other Babes.
It's time to munch a fresh, soft pretzel.