Fifty Shades of Grey. Nuff said. Okay, maybe I’ll elaborate a tiny bit, although Kitchen Tested is rated PG so I can’t say too much. Just this: Go read 50 Shades of Grey. Sure, you could read any old naughty romance novel but 50 Shades will blow your mind with its descriptive and very shocking story telling. This book will definitely keep you tied down (or up) and wanting more…so much more! I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say that the tie in the above picture isn’t just inspired by the book cover.
Anastasia (Ana) Steele is an innocent college student in Vancouver, Washington (shout out to my home state) who is about to graduate. She seems to be a romantic at heart, looking for that guy who will sweep her off her feet…until she meets an incredibly handsome billionaire named Christian Grey. Christian is drawn to Ana and as much as he tries to stay away from her, he just can’t help but be near her. Sounds like Edward and Bella from the Twilight Series, right? Well, that’s because the characters of Ana and Christian are based on Edward and Bella. Brilliant! I won’t say too much more about the book except that Christian has a very good reason to keep innocent Ana away from him…but alas, the two literally “jump in to bed together” and the escapades begin. Let’s just say that there are contracts, handcuffs, ben wa balls (you’ll have to just look that one up yourself), a very twitchy palm and lots of, um, foil packets. Okay, I’m done. Go buy the Fifty Shades Trilogy and then make these knotted pretzel inspired by all the knots tied in this series.
Grey Sea Salt Garlic Knotted Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet (1 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
2/3 cup baking soda
2 Tbsp roasted garlic butter (recipe below), melted
unrefined grey sea salt
Roasted Garlic Butter
2 heads of garlic
1 stick butter, room temperature
salt and pepper
It’s all so very simple! I’ve been meaning to make my own soft pretzels for a while and this seemed like the perfect time. I haven’t even told you how to make them yet and I already can’t wait to make them again!!!
I combined the warm water, sugar, yeast and butter in a bowl of my stand mixer and mixed with the dough hook until just combined. You don’t want to mess with the yeast too much. Just let it do its thing. I let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the mixture looks the same after your short wait. You don’t need to see any bubbles on the surface like you would when you just mix warm water with yeast. I added the salt, garlic and flour and mixed on low-speed until combined.
I then increased the speed to medium and continued mixing the dough until smooth, for around 2-3 minutes. If you dough is a little too wet, just add some flour to the mixture 1 Tbsp at a time. I kneaded the dough in to a ball with my hands, sprayed a large bowl with cooking spray and placed the beautiful dough in the bowl. I coated the dough in the cooking spray, placed a towel over the bowl and let it rise for 1 hour.
In the meantime, I made the roasted garlic butter. Are you drooling yet? I preheated the oven to 425 degrees F. I peeled the heads of garlic until down to the skins of the individual cloves then sliced the tips of the cloves, leaving the end of the bulb intact.
I drizzled the garlic with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper then wrapped the whole thing in foil and cooked in the oven for 45 minutes.
When the garlic was cool enough to handle, I just squeezed out the soft cloves right in to the room temperature butter and stirred to combine. Done! There are so many ways to use this butter or even just the cloves on their own. I love to sprinkle roasted garlic cloves on homemade pizza and the butter is fantastic on rustic bread or on a fresh piece of white fish.
When the dough was double the size and beautifully risen, I set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. I placed the dough on a flat surface and evenly divided it in to 8 pieces. I used a ruler and scored the dough before slicing to make sure they were all similar in size.
Then I rolled the dough in to long ropes and shaped the pretzels using a double twist knot. Here’s how I got it done. Pictures speak louder than words, right?!
I made 8 large pretzels with the dough. You can make more or less, based on how big you want your pretzels. I slowly added the baking soda to the boiling water that had been eagerly waiting for me then boiled the pretzels in the water, 2 at a time for 30 seconds. I splashed the tops of the pretzels with the water to make sure both sides got covered. This part of the process is very important because the water mixture increases the pH in the pretzel so the crust is darker and the inside is fluffier. Trust me, your pretzel won’t be as tasty if you bake without boiling.
I removed the pretzels from the water with a large flat slotted spoon and placed on parchment lined baking sheets also sprayed with cooking spray. I brushed the tops with the melted roasted garlic butter then sprinkled liberally with the crunchy grey sea salt.
I baked the pretzels for 15 minutes, until golden brown. I placed the pretzels on a baking rack to cool enough to handle then jumped right in! I dipped right in to that garlic butter and went to town.
Look at that beautiful crust! The inside of the pretzel was soft and fluffy and the outside had a perfect dark crust with that amazing crunch from the unrefined grey sea salt. And you can’t forget about all of that fragrant garlic, filling the pretzel from the inside out! I have so many plans for this pretzel dough…just like all of those plans Christian Grey had for Anastasia Steele.