As promised, this will be my last chile pepper post for a while. [OK, knock it off, I see you all doing the wave in celebration!]
I have been seeing a lot of homemade pretzel and bagel posts lately, and never having made either, I thought it was time to give it a shot. I can't for the life of me find the pretzel recipe I used as a jumping off point to post a link here, but in looking to make a Lime Salt, I found a recipe purporting to be one of Michael Chiarello's recipes for citrus salt, so I started there.
LIME SALT :
1/2 c coarse kosher salt
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the limes, being careful to avoid as much of the white pith as possible (it's bitter).
Bake at 200 for about 2 hours, or until completely dry. Sadly, it's not so pretty at this point, but that's OK - it's the flavor we're concerned with.
Allow to cool, then run through a spice grinder. Once it has gotten a head start, add the salt and give it another whirl to combine. Set aside. (NOTE: I did this just before making the pretzels, but I'm guessing if you do it a day or two ahead of time, the lime will have more of a chance to infuse itself into the salt.)
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
1 T granulated ancho chilies, ground
2 1/4 t yeast
1 c warm water
FOR DUNKING :
1/2 c warm water
2 T baking soda
4 T melted butter
1 1/2 t lime juice
Using the hook attachment, add the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer and give it a whirl to combine. On low, slowly add the water, then increase to medium and let it run for about 5". You may need to scrape down the sides after mixing in the water. When the 5" are up, you should have a nice loose ball of dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl, lightly spray the bowl with cooking spray (or brush with oil), then roll the dough around in the bowl to coat it with the oil. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour. I put mine in the oven. Be prepared to smile, because when you open the oven and that aroma wafts out, you won't be able to help it.
Line a few baking sheets with parchment and preheat the oven to 475.
Section the dough into four parts and roll each into a rope 1/2" to 1" thick, depending on what size you want them to be. Let the dough rest for about 5", then cut into pieces. I cheated ... I whipped out the pizza wheel and cut through all four ropes in one shot.
In a small bowl, stir the 2T baking soda into the 1/2 c warm water to dissolve, then dunk the pretzel bites and set them on the parchment-lined trays to rest again. Another 10" should be good.
Bake for 7-10" until set and starting to get a nice tan. Let them cool for a few minutes, then stir the lime juice into the melted butter, brush the tops and sprinkle with lime salt. Rather than "brushing" them with butter, I actually tossed them in the butter in batches and scooped them out with a spider.
Hot out of the oven, these things are awesome!! Gotta say though, after they sat for a while, they softened up more than I would have expected. Also, the lime and chile flavors didn't come through as much as I was hoping, so I'll have to play around with this one. I'm thinking I'll probably add lime zest into the dough next time and maybe make a compound lime butter ahead of time from brushing on at the end. I'll also increase the chiles. You didn't notice it at all when eating the first few, then it started to build a little, and it felt strangely like my tongue was asleep.
Happy snacking! :)