Have you tried the cookies?

They are oatstanding.

I know I haven’t said it in a while, but it’s still as true as ever…I love oatmeal. All ways. I have moved away from it of late; but I’ve come to realize that it’s been TOO long. Last week I had such an intense craving for oatmeal that I broke down and bought some while I was out! It wasn’t great…but it was exactly what I needed. And I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten it every day since….and not even fancy. It has just been a bowl of oats that I cooked. That’s it. No milk. No sugar. No fruit or nuts. Just. Oatmeal. Plain.

I know. Talk about hardcore.

This morning, with the lovely break in the hot and steamy weather, I broke out the oatmeal and decided to make something savory and wonderful.

Nothing fancy. Just easy. Oatmeal. Eggs. Peppers and onions.

Savory Oatmeal Bowl

Ingredients
1/4 c quick oats
1 egg
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 pepper, sliced

Method

  1. Saute the peppers and onions until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Crack the egg in the same pan. You don’t have to remove the veg. Cook anyway you find most delicious. I personally like over-easy. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. While the egg is cooking, cook the oatmeal. I do it in the microwave, just because it’s quick and easy.
    1. Place oats in a microwave safe bowl or dish.
    2. Cover with the appropriate amount of liquid.
    3. Microwave according to package instructions. o1
  4. To assemble: Once the oats are done, place the cooked egg, onion and pepper slices on top. If desired, drizzle with sriracha or ketchup. Enjoy.  o2

Why do people eat pretzels when they are knot a food?

At the beginning of this month, I went to Baking Nirvana. The Mothership. The Promised Land.

That’s right. I went to King Arthur Flour in Vermont.

baking 1

It was an absolutely fabulous experience. I never wanted to leave. I wanted to stay there forever and do nothing but learn how to bake amazingly perfect flour-based confections forever and ever and ever.

Alas, I have a job and real-life responsibilities, but that just means I get to take mini-retreats to go back up to KAF and learn how to bake.

I went with my friend Kelly, who is the amazing bread baker. I’ve mentioned her before in some posts. She swears by KAF even more than I do–which is saying something. She was positively shaking with excitement.

When we pulled up to the building, we could hear the triumphant music. I swear to you, we had gained an achievement. Epic Level baking skills unlocked.

Because the drive was so long for us, we decided to make the trip a baking weekend. We planned to take 2 classes and then drive back home to CT. Man, am I glad we did.

We took a pretzel class in the morning and a danish class in the afternoon.

Today’s post is about the pretzel class. I love pretzels. Soft ones, crunchy ones, sandwich-shaped ones, salty ones, sweet ones, ones with mustard, ones with beer….all of them. I love the flavor and the texture and the color. I love eating them with lunch, as a snack, or while drinking beer.

However, each time I had tried to make them at home, they always, without fail, got stuck to the baking sheet. Whether or not I greased it, or used parchment paper, or wax paper. Then I would have to  cut the bottom off of the pretzel, and the crunchy bit would be lost. I would be sad and disappointed and grumpy. Sure, they tasted good, but they weren’t whole.

I tried several different recipes, and the same thing happened each time. Grrr. I hoped with this class that I would be able to sort out what the issue was, and make better pretzels.

SUCCESS WAS MINE!

I would highly suggest, if you have a scale, that you measure your ingredients. It really does make a difference. And boiling the pretzels before baking is key. Other than that, if you think it would taste good on or in the pretzel, it probably will!

King Arthur Flour Pretzels

baking 6

 Ingredients

5 1/4 c (21 ounces) bread flour
1 1/2 c (12 ounces) water
2 tbsp (1 ounce) butter
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp diastatic malt powder (or 1 tsp sugar)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Mix for 3 minutes on slow sleep, and then turn up to medium speed for 5-6 minutes. baking 2
  3. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 1-2 hours.
    baking3
  4. After the dough has rested, make the soda bath by combining 1 quart of water with 1/2 cup baking soda, and bringing it to a simmer.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  6. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 18 inches long, with the center being thicker than the ends.
  7. Pick the dough up my the ends and twist it twice. Take the ends and press down on each side, forming the traditional pretzel shape. baking 4
  8. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Simmer the pretzels in the soda water for 10 seconds  per side. baking 5
  10. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with course salt (if desired). With a sharp knife, slice the thickest part of the pretzel.
  11. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12-16 minutes, until a deep golden brown color.
    baking 6
  12. Serve with mustard, beer, butter….your choice.
  • If you want sweet pretzels, omit the salt in step 10. When you take the pretzels out, brush them with melted butter, and dip them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.baking 7
  • If you want stuffed pretzels, after you divide the dough, roll it into a rectangle.
    baking 8Place your filling in one half of the dough. Roll the dough, completely sealing in the filling. baking 9 baking 10 baking 11Continue with steps 6-11. It doesn’t have to be 18 inches long or thicker in the center. baking 12