Sometimes I outdo even myself.
Sometimes, for reasons known only to the universe, I crave pizza pretzels. My local overpriced grocery store makes and sells them, but they're not very good. Usually, they're just a bun in the shape of a pretzel (at least that's what the bread part tastes like), with some pizza sauce and some cheese not fully melted on the top. They do in a pinch - but just in a pinch. I have to be pretty desperate if I'm going to buy one from there.
About a year ago, I made soft pretzels using a recipe from Canadian Living. I was boiling water for bagels anyways, so I figured I'd do up some pretzels while I was at it. They turned out brilliantly, though I had some issues shaping them.
The other day, I really wanted a pizza pretzel, but because I'm trying to make more and buy less, and because I had some extra pizza sauce kicking around from the pizza night I had a few weeks ago, and I had some extra mozzarella from a lasagne I recently made, I thought I could make my own fantastic pizza pretzels just fine.
And so I did. I spent more time shaping them properly this time, and I only had enough sauce and cheese to do four of the eight pretzels pizza style, but still, I got excellent results.
I can't seem to find the pretzel recipe on the Canadian Living site to link to, so I'll repost the recipe here. It's from the October 2007 issue, though.
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast ( 2 1/4 tsp)
3 - 4 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten (optional)
2 tsp coarse salt
1. Combine sugar, salt yeast, and 3 cups of flour. Add water to make a sticky dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary. I used my Kitchen Aid and developed the dough on speed 2 for about 6 - 8 minutes.
2. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease all over, and cover with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
3. Punch down the dough. Cut into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 20" rope. Form into a circle, crossing the ends left over right above the circle 3" from the end. Pick ends up and cross left end over right again. Bring ends over and under to bottom of circle, overlapping by 1/4" to create a pretzel shape; press to seal. Place on parchment-lined baking pans. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
4. Add 2 tbsp baking soda to large, wide saucepan of boiling water. (I added 2 tbsp of honey, but this is optional.) Boil pretzels, 3 at a time, turning over once with slotted spoon, until puffed up and set - about 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer back to baking sheets and let cool slightly.
5. Brush with egg wash, if using. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 400F fro 25 - 30 minutes, rotating if necessary, until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to racks and cool.
As for the pizza toppings, I just brushed on some sauce and sprinkled on some mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. I didn't egg wash these ones, though I did for the plain.
The result: awesome. I took a couple hiking the next day and froze the rest so I'll have them around the next time I get a craving.