I absolutely love pretzels, giv’em to me hard or soft, hot or cold! Since I’ve been expanding my culinary horizons and trying to make bread I thought I’d give pretzels a go.
Over the last 10 days I’ve been dog and house sitting for a friend which has meant I have a kitchen to play around in! I found a recipe with very limited direction (much like the technical bake on Great British Bake Off) and got to work.
It seemed like it would be a really arduous task and I promise you it’s not, it’s really easy and really fun to make!
Before your begin make sure you have either a large pan or cook pot that you can put on the hob. I got ahead of myself and made my pretzel dough before realising you need to boil water and bicarb together and pre-bake the pretzel in before baking in the oven! You’re also going to need baking trays.
The yield of this recipe is pretty much up to how big you want your pretzels to be, I got 7 of varying sizes, if you want big pretzels assume you’ll make about 5/6 from this recipe and possibly 10 small.
185ml warm water (1 part hot to 2 parts cold)
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
3g yeast (about half a sachet)
310g strong white bread flour
25g unsalted butter (melted)
3 or 4 tbsp bicarb
1 egg (beaten)
Coarse sea salt
Firstly stir your sugar into your warm water and add the yeast. Leave this solution to stand for 15 minutes, the yeast should start to activate and froth on top of the water.
In a large mixing bowl weigh out your flour and salt.
Once the yeast has been allowed to stand for 15 minutes and you can see the froth sitting on top of the water pour into the mixing bowl with the flour and add the melted butter. There’s no need to mix with a fork or spoon just get your hands stuck in, you can use a dough hook attachment on a mixer but the ingredients come together very quickly I don’t really see the need.
Dust your work surface with a sprinkle of flour and turn out your dough ready to kneed. Don’t discard your mixing bowl, lightly grease it with some olive oil and pop to one side.
Knead your dough for 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and easy to shape. Roll around into a ball and put the dough back into your lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to prove. (I’m going with an hour because at this point I took the dog for a walk and it was roughly an hour)
Before shaping your pretzels get yourself a large pan, I used a wok, fill about 2/3’rds of the way up with water, place on the hob and bring to the boil.
Once the dough has doubled in size turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into how many pretzels you wish to make.
To make the pretzel shape roll each piece of dough (either on the counter or between your hands) into long tubes. Put the dough in a U shape on the counter and take each end, cross them over and bring them down to the curve of the U.
I wasn’t sure at this point wether to let the pretzels prove again so I left them in their shapes for 10/15 minutes to allow them to rest.
Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of bicarb to your pan of boiling water and one at a time slowly boil each of the pretzels. I did this for about 20/30 seconds on each pretzel. They seem to swell with the water so you’ll have an idea when they’ve had enough, I fingered at this point there was a way of boiling each for too long, as I said earlier though the directions I had to work with we’re limited to say the least!
Put your pretzels on a baking tray, brush gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle the salt over before baking in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re read when they turn a golden brown colour and aren’t soft or sticky to touch.
The following day I had a do at making some sundried tomato and mozzarella pretzels and wholemeal, Lemon & Poppy seed!