I was feeling a little bit adventurous this morning and decided to try my hand at baking pretzels.. Well, the weather didn’t turn out right, it was raining all day and my dough did not seem to double its size. Nevertheless, I persevere and in the end manage to complete the pretzels..
I am a bit ‘shy-shy cat’ to show the picture of the pretzel here.. yes, you may laugh. Its ugly, I know ! The above pretzel had no fancy glaze on, just melted butter and honey. Anyway, here is the recipe, adapted from the book “Bake” by Rachel Allen.
Ingredients :600 gm bread flour 1 teaspoon yeast 2 tablespoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 375 ml warm water For the bicarb solution – 75gm sodium bicarbonate and 1 liter water. Add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in your mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Mix together oil and water. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and knead for about 10 minutes. Rub the dough with some oil, cover and leave to rise for about 1 to 3 hours. After the dough has risen to double its size, punch it down and cut into smaller balls, the same weight. Roughly about 85 to 100 gm each. Then you can shape it. Now this is the most difficult part for me.. coz there are so many shapes, I don’t know which is the original one ? I’m hoping the one I’m going to show you is correct. First, roll the ball into a thin rope, then make a twist. Continue with another twist. Now watch my sleight of hands.. Grip the ring and bring to the front. Dab some water to glue the end of the rope to the ring. Arrange all the pretzels on a parchment paper and let it rise again for another 10 to 2o minutes. The next step is the bicarb bath. Bring the water to boil and dissolve the baking soda. It will bubble like mad, don’t worry, just keep on stirring. Let it simmer. Use your hand to transfer the pretzel into the water. 30 seconds on each side. I find this process can really ruin the shape of your pretzel, so you have to be careful not to stretch the pretzels when you are handling them. Return to the tray and bake at 215C for 15 minutes. Before baking, you can sprinkles seeds like sesame or poppy seeds if you want to. Glaze the pretzels while they are still hot from the oven.
The outcome – I think the pretzels taste just like bread, as you can see the ingredients are very simple and nothing rich. But there is that unique taste as a result of the bicarb bath (which you cannot skip !) For me, I would definitely need glaze, maybe chocolate, to go with the pretzels. Just like donuts, I don’t like it plain. After making pretzel, I’m having second thoughts about making bagels.. maybe the best solution is to buy these things, no matter how pricey they are. But don’t let me set you back, we have to try, right ? And anyway, nothing beats homemade.
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