Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin and Stout Soft Pretzels

pumpkin stout pretzels, pumpkin spice, soft pretzelsWe know, we know...everyone is overdosing on pumpkin spice, it's a fall cliche, it's just too hip. But . . . so? We're not ashamed to admit we love pumpkin spice! In fact, we're downright happy to ride the pumpkin-spice tidal wave until it crests sometime next week, following the palate-resetting mini-candy-bar blowout that is Halloween.

Stout is very complementary to pumpkin; the flavors work really well together, especially with the addition of warm fall spices, yeast, and a touch of brown sugar. You can use whatever stout makes your heart sing. (I used our own homebrewed oatmeal stout, which is a damn fine specimen, if I do say so myself.) Canned pumpkin works a treat--but be sure to use plain pureed pumpkin and not pie filling.

Don't skip the boiling process--it takes only a few seconds and is super simple to accomplish. Make sure to let the pretzels cool before buttering and sugaring them. And this is one case where less is more, as far as the butter basting goes. Too much butter (hard to believe there is such a thing), and your spiced sugar will just clump up and fall off. Restrain yourself.

soft pretzels, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pretzels, stout

Pumpkin and Stout Soft Pretzels

  • 1 cup stout
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup baking soda (for boiling)
For topping:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine stout, pumpkin puree, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until very warm but not hot (no hotter than 110 degrees F, please). Remove pan from heat and sprinkle yeast over the pumpkin mixture. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. AT the end of that time, your yeast should be "blooming."
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and spices. Pour in the pumpkin-yeast mixture, add the oil, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to moisten dry ingredients. (If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon or 2 of stout.) Using the dough hook attachment, knead on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until dough forms a smooth ball around the hook and doesn’t cling to the sides of the bowl.  If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. (The dough won’t quite double, but it should have a decent lift.)
  3. Line baking sheets with parchment and spray with pan spray.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (I weighed mine whole, then used a calculator to divide the ounce total by 12 for accuracy; pastry chef habit), and roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long.  Form each dough rope into a pretzel and place on pans. Cover pretzels with a clean linen cloth and let rise for 25 minutes.
  4. Bring a stockpot or other large pot of water just to a boil.  Add ¼ cup baking soda--careful, it will bubble aggressively for a moment--and stir to dissolve.  Boil the pretzels in batches for about a minute, turning halfway through. Remove pretzels from water bath and let drain for a minute on clean towels.
  5. While you’re boiling the pretzels, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place boiled pretzels on parchment-lined and sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
  6. Transfer the pretzels to a rack to cool completely.  While they’re cooling, combine sugars, spices, and salt in a pie plate or similar rimmed dish.  Brush the pretzels with a very light coat of melted butter, then toss in sugar-spice mixture until coated.

Notes:

  • If you buy your yeast in 1lb packages like I do, the equivalent to a single yeast packet is 2.25 teaspoons. Now you know.
  • These can be frozen before they are coated. Just wrap plain pretzels in plastic wrap and place in a zipper-sealed plastic freezer bag. When ready to serve, thaw, brush with butter, and toss in sugar-spice mixture.
This recipe was originally posted on my craft beer blog, GrowlersandLace.com. Stop by and visit me there for all things related to craft beer and home brewing. 

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