Monday, June 25, 2007

misadventures in baking

pretzels for peace

Alton Brown made me do it.

After seeing the pretzel episode last weekend, I just had to try my hand at them. Baking soda is the magic ingredient that makes pretzels brown nicely, which was news to me. At first, Alton toyed with the notion of using lye for the basic solution, but his fictional lawyers made him use baking soda instead - damn! By the way, the peace signs were Alton's alternate suggestion.

I converted to vegan and whole grain a recipe I found in Home Baking. The first pretzel was a disaster. I thought I'd save time by forming the second pretzel while the first was simmering in the baking soda solution for a half minute, but I forgot to remove the first pretzel until several minutes had elapsed. Not only that, but I blew off keeping the pretzel on the spatula, figuring I could fish it out - big mistake - it came out soggy and in pieces. I baked the pieces with the other three pretzels on a lark, and it reminded me of that nasty baking soda toothbrushing they made us do in the first grade. I'm happy to say that the other three came out alright for a first try (Eliza and I ate one with dijon-agave dipping sauce).

In addition, I also baked the worst batch of muffins I've made in my life. I couldn't figure out why they were so dense (Dreena Burton's recipes have been on the whole quite reliable), until I mentally traced my steps and couldn't remember having put in the baking soda and baking powder. Mea culpa. Eliza was a real sport about eating them anyway. I think the only thing that could make my little carb-ivore refuse a muffin would be to simmer it in baking soda-water for five minutes!


Jenny said...

Oh, wow- CWH loves Alton Brown. I can't wait to show him your post. He'll probably want to make pretzels! And the peace signs- how cool is that?

Yesterday must have been muffin day- I made Blueberry Banana muffins. :o)

Kate in NJ said...

My 4.5 year old loves "Uncle Alton"
(as she calls him), actually she is addicted to the Food Network.
I really enjoy all the food on your blog.