Have you ever looked at people absolute frothing over a product and wondered, “what’s the big deal?” That was me with the KitchenAid. Everyone raved about them but one look at the price tag and I was like “it can’t be that good”.
I mean, these stand mixers usually retail for $800 and up. If you’re lucky you can find them on special for as low as $500 for one of the smaller models. The new limited-edition Light and Shadow model retails for $999. A grand! Sure it’s very pretty, but that’s a lot of money.
Meanwhile, I’ve burnt out cheap hand mixers while making cookie dough, and nearly given myself RSI kneading bread (before giving up entirely and just sticking with no-knead recipes). So I probably should have listened to the KitchenAid fans and their rave reviews.
And on that note, the folks at KitchenAid loaned me a Light and Shadow stand mixer to try it out for myself. This baby comes with a direct motor drive and 10 speeds, weighty stainless steel accessories — flat beater, dough hook and wire whisk — and a very luxe 4.8L black ceramic bowl in a matt, studded finish. She’s stunning, and very heavy.
I took her for a spin with these pretzels.
Buttery Soft Pretzels with a KitchenAid
What you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups (354 ml) water
- 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons (8g) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
- 4 cups (480g) all purpose flour
- ¼ cup (58g) baking soda
- ½ cup (113g) butter (melted)
- Basic Salt Pretzels: Coarse kosher salt or pretzel salt
- Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: white sugar and cinnamon to taste (about ¼ cup sugar to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)
- Everything Pretzels: Mix together dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, sesame seeds, kosher salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon of each), and poppy seeds (about 1 teaspoon)
- Preheat the oven to 232°C. Prepare your baking sheets by lining each one with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add the brown sugar into the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Gently whisk to incorporate, then set aside and let yeast bloom for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the flour and salt into the bowl of your KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer to speed 4. With the mixer turning, pour the yeasted water into the bowl. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and smacks against the sides of the bowl.
- Spray a large glass bowl with a bit of spray oil. Remove the dough from the mixer, form into a smooth ball, and set into the glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- Very lightly spray your countertop with spray oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut into eight even pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each piece of dough into a long rope. Once all pieces are in ropes, place one rope in front of you. Hold an end in each hand and twist the dough together twice. Press the ends into the sides to form the traditional pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on your prepared baking sheet and prepare a baking soda bath.
- Bring 4 cups of water to boil. Turn off heat then add in baking soda and whisk vigorously.
- Gently place 2-3 pretzels into the baking soda bath. Soak the pretzels for 30 seconds, then use a large skimmer to lift each pretzel from the water, let excess water drip off, and place the pretzels back on the prepared baking sheet(s). Repeat with the remaining pretzels. Brush the pretzels lightly with the egg mixture. (If making salt or everything pretzels, sprinkle the toppings on after egg wash and before baking. If making cinnamon sugar pretzels, only the egg wash before baking.)
- Bake pretzels for 10-12 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove them from the oven and generously brush butter on all sides. (If making cinnamon sugar pretzels, put the buttered pretzel into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn until fully coated.) Serve fresh out of the oven.
Look at these beauties! Of course, I made three flavours. All delicious but the cinnamon sugar is a real treat.
I’ve made pretzels before by hand, but this lot came out so much fluffier, and the sesame seed and salt ones kept pretty well in the freezer, too.
I also made rustic fruit bread and some pizza dough, just to really put this KitchenAid stand mixer through its paces. The pizza dough was so much better than the kind I’ve made by hand (probably because I usually get sick of manually kneading and give up long before the dough’s actually done).
Verdict: I loved it so much I bought one for myself. Worth every cent.
The KitchenAid 4.8L Light and Shadow Limited Edition retails for $999 and is available here.