Sourdough Pretzels

This is a great recipe to use up the cup of discarded starter from when you feed your sourdough.  It’s a very easy recipe that does not call for boiling soda water.  I like that very much because last time I made pretzels I found out that the bubbles that form on top of the boiling soda water can burn your hands when you are dropping the pretzels into the boiling soda water.  Which made me very sad and made dropping the rest of the pretzels into the boiling soda water extremely very not fun!  So, if you are a diehard pretzel fan and insist on dropping them into boiling soda water (or lye water), you may not like this recipe.  But some of you might enjoy it even more.  Like I do.  And I suppose that if you really really want to, you can go ahead and drop them into boiling soda water.  I really don’t mind.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp yeast

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup lukewarm water

1 cup unfed sourdough starter (can come straight out of the fridge)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For Topping Pretzels

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp hot water

pretzel salt, sea salt, or kosher salt

2 Tbsp melted butter

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Mix all ingredients and knead until you get a dough that is fairly smooth, but slightly sticky.  Cover the dough and let it rise for about 45 minutes.  It is not going to rise very much so don’t get worried when it doesn’t.

Punch the dough down to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly greased (not floured) work surface.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long and fold and twist into the classic pretzel shape.  Or any other shape that happens to catch your fancy.  Place the pretzels on a buttered or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Dissolve the sugar into the hot water and brush over the tops of the pretzels.  Sprinkle with salt.  Here’s the best part:  the pretzels don’t have to rise and they don’t take a dip in the boiling soda water!  Yay!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with the melted butter.  The butter will keep them from getting hard.

So tell me, what is your favorite pretzel shape?

Sourdough Biscuit Recipe

I have been having so much fun experimenting with new sourdough recipes, that I forgot to post the one for the biscuits that I promised!  These biscuits are a great way to use starter that you might be discarding when it is sourdough feeding time.  Of course, you don’t have to be throwing out starter to make these, you could just make them because you want to!  I have made different variations of these: cinnamon raisin and cheddar garlic, and they are really good.  Course, the plain ones are really good, too.  But I just can’t seem to not experiment with recipes!  I’ll probably have to experiment with chocolate chips next.  Because you know as well as I do that anything good is going to be better with chocolate!

Here’s the recipe.

Sourdough Biscuits

Sourdough Biscuits 

 2 cups flour

1 cup sourdough starter

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

additional butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add sourdough starter and buttermilk to the flour mixture; stir with a fork until the dough forms a ball.  You may need to adjust the flour or milk depending on how thin your starter is.

Turn dough onto a well floured surface; knead 5-10 times.  Roll or pat out to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with a floured biscuit cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet.  Brush with melted butter.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with more butter and the jam or jelly of your choice!

Yield is 1 dozen with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.

I did an experiment on how these would do if I froze them and then baked them.  Here are the results:

   I used the cinnamon raisin biscuits for this experiment.  The ones on the far right of the pan I let thaw for 30 minutes, the ones in the middle thawed for 10 minutes, and the ones on the left I put straight into the oven.  There did not seem to be much of a difference in the way they turned out.  So, if you are going to be freezing them, you can just cook them straight out of the freezer.  I have to say though, that after freezing they did not rise as high as the ones that I didn’t freeze.

The moral of the story is: fresh is better if you have the time!  And, really, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to mix, pat, and cut out the biscuits.  If you pre-heat the oven at the same time, you can have fresh, yummy biscuits in 25 minutes start to finish.  I usually scramble the eggs and fix the bacon while the biscuits are cooking.  Or sometimes we just have biscuits and jelly for supper, in which case I make a double batch.  My kids love having breakfast for supper and so do I.  I wonder what that says about us…?

I saw a recipe for ham and cheese biscuits the other day, so I will probably try those out soon.  What kinds of additions do you like in your biscuits?

Eureka!!!

I did it!

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  These are amazing!  That is what my daughter said when she tested the last batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls.  And I must say, I have to agree with her.  I told you that I had a little more tweaking to do on the recipe before I shared.  The tweaking has come to an end, and I am pleased to share the “fixed” recipe with you.  It actually doesn’t bear a whole lot of resemblance to the one I started with, but that’s ok.  Drum roll please!  I now give you the recipe for OMG Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls.

OMG Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup sourdough starter

1 cup milk

1 stick of butter

3 eggs

1 tsp yeast

5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup instant potato flakes

melted butter for brushing on rolls after baking (optional)

Heat milk and butter just until butter is melted.  Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and stir to dissolve.

Put flour, sugar, salt, and potato flakes in large mixing bowl and stir to mix.  Add starter, eggs, and milk mixture and mix until combined.  Dough should be fairly stiff.  If too dry add milk 1 Tbsp at a time; if too wet, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead for 5 to 8 minutes without adding too much extra flour.  Dough should be slightly sticky.  Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, butter 2 9 x 13 baking pans, and prepare filling.

Filling 

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cinnamon

In small mixing bowl melt butter.  Add sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Mix well.  I have found that when you mix it into a paste like this, it stays put better when you are rolling the dough up.

After dough has rested, cut into 2 equal pieces.  Roll out 1/2 the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15 x 24 ish rectangle.  Spread with half of the filling mixture, making sure to spread to the edges on the shorter sides and one of the long edges.  That is so the end pieces have plenty of filling in them. 🙂  Roll up the dough starting on the long side that has the filling all the way to the edge.  Cut into 12 equal pieces and place in the buttered pan.  Flatten slightly.  Rolls should not be touching.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Do the same with the second piece of dough.  Let the rolls rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled.  When the rolls have doubled in size, bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Brush the rolls with melted butter.  This keeps the rolls from getting hard.  Place pans on cooling rack and let cool slightly before spreading with icing.

While rolls are cooling, prepare icing.

Icing

6 oz cream cheese

3 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

dash of salt

cinnamon to sprinkle over top

Soften cream cheese in the microwave.  (You can skip that step if you happen to remember to take the cream cheese out of the fridge early enough so that it is soft enough to work with).  With a whisk, stir until smooth.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt and mix well.  Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.  Spread icing over the cooled rolls.  If the rolls are too hot, the icing will just melt and run off.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

This recipe makes 2 dozen rolls that are light and fluffy, with just the right amount of cinnamon filling yummyness and icing that is not too sweet.  You can even make the rolls ahead and refrigerate overnight before baking if you want to.  Just let them come to room temperature and make sure they have doubled in size before putting them in the oven.  These are really easy to make and I have the feeling that I will be making them often.  Enjoy!