Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pretzel Bites

After my kids had some pretzel bites at Red Robbins, I decided to make some at home.

I tested these pretzel bites before I tested the pretzel rolls. So if you already have the experience of making the pretzel rolls, these pretzel bites will be like "a walk in the park".

It wasn't very difficult to test out the pretzel bites recipe. Using my pizza dough, I tried two techniques to achieve both dark color and chewy texture. First technique is the soda bath, and the second is the soda wash.

I couldn't really tell if there was any difference between these two techniques, but Brek sworn that pretzel bites that had soda bath were chewier than the ones with just a soda wash. So let me know what you think.

Sprinkle the sea salt on the dough before baking is optional. We do eat a lot of salty snacks here so if I don't have to, I'd skip the added salt. Serving them with my honey mustard dipping sauce or a pasta sauce is optional but highly recommended.

1 my pizza dough recipe
4 and 1/2 cup water, divided
3 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon baking soda, divided
  1. Line the baking pan with a non stick matt or a parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the pizza dough according to my pizza dough recipe instruction.
  3. Once the dough is double its size, cut the dough into 6-8 equal part. TIPS: There is no need to be perfect when make the shape of the pretzel bites. Just make sure they are some what the same size.
  4. Knead and roll each dough into a rope.
  5. Then cut them about an inch cube and place them on prepared pan.
  6. Let the dough rest.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400F degree.
  8. For baking soda bath, add 4 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil.
  9. Add the dough about 3-5 at a time.
  10. Let them bath in the soda water for about 30 seconds per side.
  11. Take the dough out of the soda bath to place them back on a prepared pan.
  12. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  13. For a baking soda wash, heat 1/2 cup of water in a microwave for 40-60 seconds.
  14. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and mix it well.
  15. Bruch each dough with the soda wash.
  16. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  17. Once they are baked, let them rest before serving. Enjoy them with your favorite condiments.
STORING: These pretzel bites are best kept in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to 3 days.

Allergy Info: These pretzel bites are free from or can be made without dairy, egg, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish. When searching for a pasta sauce, look for real ingredients. There shouldn't be any additive or preservative, like citric acids, added.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pita Bread (with or without pokets)

If you think pita bread is difficult to bake, you are... sorta correct. It's easy to bake the pita bread without pockets. It's tricky to bake them with pockets. Every time I aim to bake pita bread with pockets, it's been hits and misses.

Here's the tricky part. Pita bread with pockets is a puffy bread. So if the dough doesn't puff up during baking, it will just be... pita bread.

My tricks to baking pita bread are three things:

1. Never press the dough with your fingers. Have you ever bake focaccia? It's basically a large rectangular pizza but has finger impressions all over the dough. The dough won't rise (or puff) up during baking. For the pita with pockets, stretch the dough, using a lightly press rolling pin.

2. Let the dough rise at least 30 minutes. Because the dough is kneaded and rolled out, baking them right away will not allow the dough to puff up. It will become just a regular pita bread. Let the dough relaxes before baking helps the dough to puff up during baking.

3. Bake the bread in a high oven temperature. Since I use a baking pan instead of a baking stone, I can only heat the oven up to 400F degree. For baking stone, the oven can be as high as 500F degree. Remember to preheat the baking pan for at least 5 minutes before placing the pita bread dough on top of it. For baking stone, preheat it at least 20 minutes. I prefer the baking pan method as it is faster and safe money on utility bill.

Now that's discuss the high heat. Think about how the dough rises slowly at the room temperature. In the summer, the dough doubles in size rather quickly because well, the temperature is quite warm in my kitchen. Same idea with high heat oven temperature. The dough will rise super fast when it sits in high heat. Remember that everything needs to be HOT.

For a lightly brown color, use the baking soda water wash. This is optional but of course, we eat with our eyes. Lightly brown color pita bread will look tastier than dull beige color. Don't you agree?

Pita Bread
makes as many as you want

1 recipe of my pizza dough
all-purpose flour for dusting
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Make the pizza dough according to my recipe directions.
  2. When ready to bake the pita bread, place a nonstick matt or parchment paper over the baking pan. divide the dough into baseball size dough ball, about 3-4 ounces.
  3. Roll the dough ball out into a pie shape, about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Place them on prepared pan.
  5. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes or more. TIP: Touch the dough lightly with your finger to feel if the dough is soft to touch.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F degree. Place the baking tray in the oven right away.
  7. After the oven is preheated, set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes to allow the baking pan to heat up even more.
  8. When ready, mix together the hot water and baking soda.
  9. Brush the soda water over the dough.
  10. Pick up the nonstick matt or parchment paper and place it on the preheated baking pan.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven until the pita bread puffs up, about 10 minutes.
  12. Allow the pita bread to cool completely before cutting it in half. Enjoy them with your favorite sandwich fillings.
STORING: Keep the pita bread in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to 3 days.

Allergy Info: These pita bread is free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pretzel Rolls

The first time my kids and I saw the pretzel rolls, it was like seeing a rainbow on a cloudy day. They looked tasty, and they were. The ingredients were simple flour, baking soda, yeast, salt. But a few months afterward, I noticed that the labeling changed, seeing more strange ingredient listed.

After I decided to stop buying any more pretzel rolls, my kids were pretty upset. What could they do? Well, they asked ME to bake some for them. The things I do for my kids.

Every time I test a new recipe, I always give a pizza dough or a bao dough a go. Both of these recipes are very versatile. Since the store bought pretzel rolls had the chewy texture, I decided to go with my pizza dough recipe.

Making the dough and rolling it out into pretzel shape was super duper easy. The challenge was getting the pretzel rolls to have that deep dark caramel color. I have a lot of luck with baking soda wash for other bread. Thinking about it, I figured to go with two baking soda washes. First, baking soda bath. Then ending with baking soda wash. And it worked!!!

Pretzel rolls looked so pur-tee. My kids were "ouuuu" and "ahhhh" when they saw the pretzel rolls. I was a proud mommy. But how did they taste? Chewy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Yup, just like the store bought pretzel rolls but with better ingredients.

Pretzel Rolls
makes 6 rolls

1 pizza dough recipe
8 1/2 cups water, divided
5 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking soda, divided
  1. Make the pizza dough according to my recipe instruction.
  2. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, about 4.2 to 4.3 oz. each.
  3. While the dough rest, boil 8 cups of water in a heavy bottom pot.
  4. While the water is heating up, preheat the oven to 400F degree.
  5. Line a nonstick mat or parchment paper on a baking pan. Set aside.
  6. Once the water comes to full boil, add 5 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon at a time. NOTE: Be careful with this step as water will bubble up every time the baking soda is added into the boiling water. If your kids haven't seen this, get them in the kitchen. It's fun to watch.
  7. Slash each dough with a sharp knife 3 times.
  8. Drop the dough into the boiling water, two at a time.
  9. Allow the dough to sit in the boiling water for 30 seconds per side.
  10. Take the dough out with a slotted spoon and place them in a prepared pan.
  11. Repeat until all the dough gets the baking soda bath.
  12. Place 1/2 cup of water in a microwavable bowl.
  13. Heat the water on HIGH for 40 seconds.
  14. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the hot water.
  15. Stir with a baking brush.
  16. Brush the baking soda wash on to the dough.
  17. Bake in a preheated oven until dark brown, about 20 minutes.
  18. Let the pretzel rolls cool in a wiring rack. Serve warm or at a room temperature. Enjoy!!!
STORING: Place the pretzel rolls in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to 3 days or in a fridge for 5 days. To reheat, wrap the pretzel rolls in foil. Boil for about 5 to 10 minutes until heated through.

Allergy Info: These pretzel rolls are free from or can be made without dairy, egg, corn, legume (soy), nuts, and fish.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sweet Fried Dough

For this month, I would like to post everything bread dough. Starting off with sweet fried dough.

There isn't much to talk about this particular post. I just happened to come across a cooking show, featuring Daddy's Fried Dough. He basically deep-fried pizza dough and served them with his chocolate sauce.

After watching it, I was inspired to deep-fry my own pizza dough. I tested this recipe over three years ago when I was in a make-everything-from-scratch diet. Drizzle with melted chocolate and ummm... so addicting.

When I plan to make pizza for dinner, I would take just enough pizza dough to make this dessert for our afternoon snack. Feel free to deep-fried the whole pizza dough recipe for a big crowd. Think of it this way, my sweet fried dough is an easy version of beignets. Powdered sugar is highly recommended.

Sweet Fried Dough
serve 3

10 oz. of my pizza dough recipe
safflower or sunflower oil for deep-frying
chocolate chips, melted
a lot of powdered sugar for serving
  1. Make a pizza dough according my recipe instructions.
  2. Place 2 inch of the oil in a heavy bottom pot.
  3. Heat the oil until the deep-frying thermometer reaches 350F degree.
  4. Place a wiring rack over a baking pan. Set aside.
  5. Roll out the dough into 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut the dough into desired shapes. TIPS: Sometimes I like to but the dough into short stripes. They are easier to dip into melted chocolate.
  7. Deep-fry the pizza dough until puffy and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. NOTE: Depending on how thick and the size of each piece of the pizza dough, the cooking time may varies.
  8. Transfer the deep-fried pizza dough on to the prepared pan and allow the oil to drain.
  9. Serve the fried dough with melted chocolate or powdered sugar. Enjoy them with a cup of hot cocoa (in the winter) or a lemonade (in the summer).
STORING: These sweet fried dough are best eating right away, but be careful as they are piping hot.

Allergy Info: These sweet fried dough are free from or can be make without dairy, egg, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish.