With this batch I attempted to diversify this dough's portfolio. Although this post could just as easily reside in the "Other Types" board, the deal maker was the Eagle Mills All-Purpose flour with Ultragrain. With a single batch I made naan, parmesan cheese sticks, cinnamon rolls, and a soft pretzel. The naan was okay. The parmesan cheese sticks were good. The cinnamon rolls were really good. The soft pretzel was the best soft pretzel I have ever eaten in my life. I have had numerous soft pretzels in my day, including those served by street venders in New York and Philadelphia as well as from skating rinks and sports stadiums from my youth, but I really do think there was something special going on here. I can't adequately describe just how happy I was eating this pretzel. If I hadn't already dumped my alkaline water, I would have discarded any notion of making naan, sticks, or rolls with the remaining dough. For a moment I even considered never making pizza again and just making pretzels henceforth. It was just a moment though. (It must have been the alkalinity messing with my mind.) I was too anxious to sample the goods to stop and take pictures, but here's the schedule and formula:
4.0 hours @ 86°F (preferment)
1.5 hours @ 86°F (bulk)
1.0 hours @ 72°F (divided)
0.5 hours @ 72°F (shaped)
100.0 : 48.7% Eagle Mills All-Purpose
... ... : 48.7% King Arthur Bread
... ... : 2.6% Hodgson Mill VWG
03.50 raw agave nectar (2.5 dry)
01.75 sea salt
01.00 malted milk
01.00 rice bran oil
The formed pretzel was boiled for about 45 seconds in alkaline water (95% water, 5% sodium bicarbonate), coarse sea salt was sprinkled atop, and finally baked directly on the rack in a 600°F oven for just under 6 minutes.
The Ultragrain based flour really added just the right flavor and texture to make the pretzel stand out. I could detect a small symphony playing in the background with the nectar and malted milk, but ultimately I think it was how the flour boiled and baked that made the biggest difference.