Basic Pretzels

Woah. Look at ’em all! And look! We’re back to posting!

So we thought we followed the recipe properly. Mixed the correct number of ingredients, swaddled the dough carefully in blankets and left it for 1 hour to rise to all of its potential. At the appointed time, the yeast apparently had not got the memo.

We gave the little guys another hour to sort things out amongst themselves, found a french coffee shop and ended up with a slightly exorbiant number of desserts (No regrets on the mysteriously delicious ‘monkey bread’). Came back, and still the yeast was sleeping soundly, but by this point it didn’t seem like it was planning on getting into buisness at all.

Why? I still can’t quite figure it out when things like this go wrong, but more alarmingly, we noticed a distinct lack of a ‘pretzel’ flavor, underneath the crunchy crust and crystals of sea salt.

The pretzels that weren’t quite, I suppose you could call them. But, hey, they were still pretty good fresh from the oven.

2 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons corn oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
coarse salt (for sprinkling)

In a small bowl, pour in the warm water, yeast and sugar and stir to disolve. Let sit for ~10 minutes, until it has ‘bloomed’ to a thicker, frothy mixture. Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture, then the salt, and then 4 more cups of flour. If more flour is still required, add the remaining cup a bit at a time. The dough should not be sticky, but it’s also not good to let it get too stiff. Take the dough out of the bowl and give it a quick kneading, then place it in an oiled bowl to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until it has doubled in size [note: I think our problem may have been a too-cold house, in which case you may have to get creative with blankets and such].

When the dough is ready to go, get your baking sheets ready and preheat the oven to 450F. Punch down the dough and divide into 16 pieces (for large pretzels) or 32 (for mini guys). Stretch/roll the pieces into long strips, and then fold into pretzel shapes. Let them rest for 15 more minutes. In the meantime, fill a pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the baking soda and sugar, but watch out – it fizzes up and gets all over the place. Let the pretzels sit for 3 minutes on each side, then flip them over for another 3 minutes. Place them on the baking tray, and glaze them with a beaten egg and 1 tablespoon water. Sprinkle the salt on top, bake until golden brown – about 12-15 minutes.

(Practicing to be a hand model, as you can see. The braces and oversized sweater add to the air of elegance)


One response to “Basic Pretzels

  1. haha Dani, you finally back! I’ve been waiting. you are making so much better looking pretzels than you do with bagels 🙂 kudos on improvement! I like your sweater!

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