Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homemade Pretzels

Besides the obvious that they raised alot, these were really good. Not as good as the ones you get from Target or that nice little shop in the mall, but still good.


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
coarse salt


In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Cut each into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-in. rope. Shape into a pretzel. Place on greased baking sheets. Beat egg yolk and cold water; brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Perfect Biscuits

I have searched for a long time for that perfect biscuit recipe. You know the one. Wonderfully brown and crisp on the outside, and deliciously soft, flakey and moist on the inside. Of course you need to make these from scratch, I knew no box mix was going to cut it. But I tried several of different recipes and never really got the results I wanted. After watching an episode of Sandwich King on Food Network, I am happy to exlaim, "By Jove, I think I've got it!" Turns out the perfect biscuit isn't just about the recipe, but the technique. Two simple things make a world of difference.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar*
3/4 cup butter 
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.

2.In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add COLD milk all at once. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for four to six strokes or just until dough holds together. Pat or lightly roll dough until 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough with a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Handle the dough as little as possible.

5. Pull cast iron skillet from the oven and add enough vegetable oil just to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Place biscuits, sides touching, in hot cast iron skillet. Brush the top of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden. Remove biscuits from oven and serve warm.

Two simple steps, baking in a hot cast iron skillet and refridgerating the ingredients after combining, made a WORLD of difference.