Monday, December 8, 2008

His breath reeked of beer and pretzeled bread!

Like all good Philadelphians, I love soft pretzels. When I was a kid, whenever we drove to Philadelphia to visit family, my dad would always buy a bag of pretzels from the vendor at the end of the Cottman Avenue exit. In recent years I have come to love Fisher's in the Reading Terminal and their bastard cousins in every mall, Auntie Anne's, which are a very different experience.

Fisher's has a breakfast pretzel strudel, full of sausage eggs and cheese. It is mighty. I thought I would try to replicate it in bulk as a freezable breakfast item.
It turns out that despite the profusion of recipes on the web claiming to replicate Auntie Anne's, it is tough to get that Mennonite mojo, which comes basically from more butter and sugar than people who do not plow without tractors should eat.

Here is how I made these delicious Egg, Ham and Muenster Pretzel Buns

This pretzel dough recipe is very nice. I made mine in my Kitchenaid w/ the dough hook. You know you have added enough flour when it all holds together in one ball. I added a quarter stick of butter and an egg yolk for the dough. I also borrowed a trick from other recipes and added 1/4 cup baking soda to the water the raw pretzels are boiled in, which as a non-caustic alkaline is a stand-in for the lye used by professionals.

While waiting for the dough to rise:

  • Beat 6 eggs w/ 2 tbs corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup milk (this keeps the cooked eggs from getting all nasty when frozen and reheated).
  • Dice four slices of deli muenster and about 1/4 pound of ham.
  • Distribute ham and cheese evenly in a greased 12-muffin tin.
  • Fill muffin tins with egg mixture (about halfway on each)
  • Bake eggs at 350 for 10 min or so, until they are cooked through but still a bit runny.
  • Turn out baked eggs and let cool.


Break off a piece of pretzel dough and roll flat with baking pin, very thin. Place an egg muffin on dough and fold to overlap, then twist each end like a tootsie roll until it breaks off (you can roll these together later). Once you have them all done, boil a pot of water and add some baking soda. Boil your pretzeled eggs a few at a time for five to ten seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet (oiled and pref. w/ parchment paper).

With a sharp knife, score an X in the center of each one, sprinkle with salt and bake until browned (about 10 min). I deviated from the pretzel dough recipe and baked at 375 because my wonderful wife Shoshanna was cooking my favorite morning glory muffins at the same time. It worked okay, but I was using a cast iron griddle in the oven so you might need to up it to 425.

If you will be reheating these later, take them out when they are still pale like in the photo. If serving immediately, you can let them get darker.

To reheat from a non-frozen state, place unwrapped in a 400 degree oven for 25 min. Yum.

PS If you have extra dough, as I did, you could make pretzel hot dogs, sugar and cinnamon pretzel bites, or, uh, some pretzels.

Frugal Factor: 1/2 doz eggs, $1.25, 1 cup milk, $0.25, ham, 1/3 pound ham, $1.33, yeast packet, $0.50, two slices of muenster, $0.25. Baking soda and corn starch - I buy those once a year, so let's say $0.25. 12 portions, $0.32/each.

1 comment:

Ms. Hausfrau said...

I made your pretzels tonight and I have one small warning for the science retarded. Don't add the baking soda to boiling water as something sciency happens. They still tasted great!