Bacon Pretzels with Maple-Dijon Dipping Sauce

Posted: May 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bread | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Bacon pretzels

It’s that time of the year again… Time for BACON CAMP! My dear friend Karen is once again working her magic to organize the second annual San Francisco Bacon Camp. I had a little trouble coming up with something to follow my award-winning entry last year, but ultimately decided to just chill out and make something that tastes good.

Fortunately, my internet friend Lucky Olive posted a picture of a delicious-looking home-made pretzel and inspiration struck. I would make bacon pretzels. Baconifying the original recipe wasn’t too difficult.

Bacon Pretzels with Maple-Dijon Dipping Sauce

Adapted from Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels, from FoodNetwork.com

Yield: 6 large pretzels

INGREDIENTS

For the pretzels:
8 slices thick-cut bacon
1 cup milk
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
6 tablespoons bacon fat, divided
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons coarse salt

For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard (I like Maille)
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS

For the pretzels:

  1. Chop 6 pieces of the raw bacon into roughly 1 cm square pieces. Cook in a frying pan until the pieces are crispy and delicious. Put bacon on a paper towel to drain. These pieces are to go in the dough. Reserve the fat from the pan.
  2. Cook another 2 pieces of bacon whole, this time leaving them slightly less done — they shouldn’t be crispy. Drain these pieces of bacon on paper towels, patting off excess grease. Dice them finely. Put them in a small dish and refrigerate them. These bits are to go on top of the pretzels. Again, reserve the fat from the pan.

    Bacon bits, to go on top of the pretzels with salt

  3. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it’s about 110°F. Make sure it’s not any warmer or the yeast will die and not work as well. I used a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
  4. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of melted bacon fat and the bacon pieces you made in Step 1. Stir to mix well.
  7. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and the fine salt; mix well to make a sticky dough.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.
  9. Lightly grease a bowl (I used bacon fat, of course). Shape the dough into a ball. Roll it around in the bowl to coat it in grease. Turn it over so it is crease side down, and then cover the bowl with a lightly moistened tea towel. Set it aside in a warm place to rise for an hour or so, till the dough has doubled in size.
  10. This would be a good time to make the dipping sauce (see below).
  11. When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a large baking sheet (you might need two).
  12. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough seems tight, cover it and let it rest until it relaxes.
  13. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Carefully roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a long, thin rope. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
  14. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet(s).
  15. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt and the bacon bits you made in Step 2.
  16. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.
  17. When the pretzels are done baking, brush or drizzle them with melted bacon fat, being careful not to dislodge the bacon bits. Let them drain on a wire rack. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

    Bacon pretzels

    Maple-dijon dipping sauce

For the dipping sauce:

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar until they are smooth and evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate.

Want to taste my bacon pretzels? Stop by Bacon Camp tomorrow:
Saturday May 8, 2010
Chez Poulet
3359 Cesar Chavez St. (at Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94110


(Bacon) Beer Bread

Posted: February 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bread, Dairy-free, Quickbreads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | No Comments »

Bacon Beer Bread

My friend Mazzie tipped me onto this crazy stuff. Beer bread is a quickbread, but some reaction between the beer and the flour gives the bread a texture that’s surprisingly similar to yeasted bread (which, of course, takes significantly longer to make). It has a slight sweetness to it, making it somewhat perplexing: is it savory, or is it for dessert? Well, honestly, you could have it either way. It would be great with a hearty stew. You can also put whatever you want in it. I chose to put bacon in it, but chunks of cheese would be a good choice too. Or, if you leave the bacon out, the bread becomes vegan. It takes about 5 minutes to stir together and an hour to cook. Easy peasy.

(Bacon) Beer Bread

Adapted from this recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all purpose flour, sifted*
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 12-ounce can of beer
4 slices bacon (omit for vegan)
1/4 cup bacon grease, or butter, or margarine

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Cut bacon into bits and cook in a frying pan. Place on paper towel to drain.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with beer.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Pour bacon grease, butter, or margarine over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from pan and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving

* According to the recipe I used, sifting is not optional. If you don’t want to sift, you can spoon the flour into the measuring cup. The goal is to avoid scooping it out of the container and leveling it off, which compacts the flour. If you do that, you’ll add too much flour and the bread will turn out brick-like. I used the spooning method and it worked fine.


Popovers

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bread, Dairy-free, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Popovers

Martha Stewart has treated me well this month. This recipe is easy as pie to make and quite tasty. Also very simple to make dairy-free.

Incidentally, everyone was right: a Dutch Baby is nothing more than an overgrown popover.

Popovers

From Martha Stewart Living, January 2010

Yield: 12 small popovers made in a regular muffin tin, or 6 popovers made in a popover tin.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups whole milk or soy milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
butter or margarine

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Whisk eggs. Whisk together milk, flour and salt. Batter will be lumpy. Whisk in eggs.
  3. Heat muffin tin or popover tin in oven for a few minutes. Brush butter or margarine in each cup generously.
  4. Fill each cup a little over halfway with batter. Bake 20 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.
  6. If not serving immediately, poke a small hole in each popover to let steam escape. Reheat when you want to serve them.

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