Mr. Foodie had a major craving for soft pretzels, so we decided to try the recipe for pretzels crafted by the incomparable Alton Brown. This was our first attempt at making soft pretzels from scratch. A few years ago my friend and bridesmaid Rebecca Grawl and I hosted an Oktoberfest party after I visited one my best friends in Germany for her wedding. I came back with the most amazing sauerkraut recipe (another one I want to share with you!) and a bunch of gingerbread and icing-decorated hearts. We did not make our own pretzels, but heated frozen ones from the grocery store and set out a variety of mustards to go with them. We also had the most delicious beer-cheese fondue! It was a rather fun party if I do say so myself.
There’s something so wonderful about a soft pretzel. I like mine with a light dusting of salt and small dabs of spicy brown mustard. I also LOVE when a restaurant has pretzel bread sandwiches. Alton Brown’s pretzels have the reputation of being scientifically-proven to turn out well, and certainly I have a lot of confidence in Alton Brown as a chef. After a problematic beginning in which Mr. Foodie added 10 cups of water instead of 1 1/2 to the yeast mixture, we got back on track with a new batch and from there it was pretty easy. The rolling out of the pretzel strips was the hardest part. I had never done anything like it before, but I quickly figured out that using my palms to roll the dough on the oiled surface was most effective. As you can see from the picture above, we didn’t get all of them “right” but we had a blast making them.
We did not buy special pretzel salt because I don’t like buying specialty ingredients that can be easily substituted by household items. I used a coarse grain sea salt that worked just fine. They turned out quite well. The color was perfect, the crust had the characteristic pretzel taste that comes, I found out, from the baking soda/water brine step in the process. Our only negative note was the yeastiness of the dough. With each bite I could taste that yeast in a way I’ve never noticed with other baked bread items I’ve made. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it is easily masked with mustard, so we’re overall pleased with our first attempt. Next time I might try Emma Christensen’s version to see how it varies.
Perhaps the best part of making these delicious pretzels is what we did with them this morning! We are proud to present the Fl Keys Foodie Pretzel Egg Sandwich:
1 Soft Pretzel, cut in half with bread knife to create a bun
1 strip of bacon
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
your favorite mustard (we used spicy brown)
Begin by cooking the bacon until it is crispy around the edges, then remove to a paper towel where it will continue to cook a little as the grease drips off. Use the pan and bacon grease to fry the egg. Crack the egg into the pan, salt and pepper to taste, flip and cook to desired doneness (Mr. Foodie likes his fried eggs over hard). When done, take off heat, add parmesan to the top of the egg and cover to melt for a minute. Spread mustard onto the bottom of the pretzel bun, put egg on top of the mustard, put bacon on top of egg, and top with second half of pretzel bun.
Let me tell you this was the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had. the pretzel bread works so well with the tangy mustard and the creamy, cheesy egg. The bacon adds a rich, salty bite. Even if you never want to make your own soft pretzels, consider grabbing some store-bought to use for your breakfast sandwiches – you won’t be sorry!