February 2014 Issue
Pretzel with a Twist
Here's how to make Gary Gottenbusch's award-winning pretzel at home.
Gary Gottenbusch’s sweet take on the classic salty snack won the 2011 grand prize in the artisan category of the California Raisin Marketing Board’s annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest.
For the pretzels:
4 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 cups plus 1 cup water
2 teaspoons or 1 packet dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups California raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons coarse sugar
For the vanilla cinnamon dip:
1 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 drops pure vanilla extract
Mix flour, 2 cups water and yeast in a mixing bowl and let sit for 20 minutes, then mix at medium speed for 5 minutes. Add salt, butter and sugar and mix for another 5 minutes. (Dough should be warm, about 78 degrees.) Turn mixer on low and add raisins and walnuts. Mix just long enough to incorporate; do not over-mix.
Lightly flour a pastry board. Remove dough from bowl and divide into 10 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each into a string approximately ½ inch wide by 4 inches long. Then roll each into a string about 12 inches long, beginning with the first string worked to allow dough to relax. Let all portions rest 10 minutes.
Roll strings to 18 inches in length, leaving the center thicker than the ends. Twist each into a pretzel shape by taking an end of the string in each hand and forming a loop, then switching each end of string to the opposite hand and pressing ends firmly into the outer edge of the loop.
Place pretzels about 1 inch apart on a nonstick baking sheet and proof for 45 minutes. (Pretzels are ready to bake when the depression made by pressing a finger into the dough remains.)
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and cinnamon; mix until uniform and set aside. (Refrigerate dip if not used after pretzels are baked.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Completely dissolve baking soda in remaining 1 cup water. Brush each pretzel with baking-soda solution and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with dip. Makes 10 pretzels.