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Additions to the Twist

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Another day of sunshine and barely cloudy skies – Aotearoa as it is known in the native language of Maori means ‘Land of the Long White Cloud.’

Cloud is constant and with the shape of the land you can see why – only a small amound of dirt sits between harbours and two oceans – little Auckland and slightly larger New Zealand get wind and a lot of rain.

Vancouver rain, pfft I laugh at that. Its much nicer to be amongst it than down here.

English weather pfft, oh I say this now, but give me a solid year and see what I say then. I will still imagine that it actually rains here more until I experience it.

Not right now though, it’s humid and hot and the sun is burning longer and brighter then it has in years. It is confusingly the middle of summer when in fact we are in autumn, with no leaves are falling.

Last summer I set out to give this country one more year to give me one last New Zealand summer (oh I will talk New Zealand more very early next month) and it has not disappointed in the slightest.

There is simply nothing like summer in New Zealand, but maybe thats because of what I know and the weight of memories here.

Warm pretzels don’t go with this weather, but I was really craving them, I needed to try this recipe that I had thought of a few months ago.

I wanted chewy dough and thats what I got.

Mustard and Cheese Pretzels
Adapted from Gourmet, March 2004 via joythebaker blog
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 3/4 to 4 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon whole mustard
1 heaping tablespoon baking soda
4 teaspoons whole mustard
1 cup grated cheese

Directions:

Stir together sugar, yeast, and the lukewarm water in a bowl, set aside for 5 minutes until foamy. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl, add to the foamy yeast mixture along with the tablespoon of mustard and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.

Dust the surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead for approximately 8 minutes, you want a smooth slightly sticky dough. Place back in the bowl, cover and set in a warm draft-free place, to double in size for 45 minutes.

Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Turn dough out onto an ever so slightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll the dough with your hands into a long 24 inch rope. Next make a U-shape with the rolled dough, while holding the ends cross the two ends and stick onto the base at the 4 and 8 o’clock marks.

Continue with the remaining dough and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425F and fill a large pot with water, bringing to a boil.

Add in the heaped tablespoon of baking soda to the water then add in each pretzel one at a time for 3 minutes. Turn once and remove carefully with tongs.

Set each pretzel on a baking tray, spread half a teaspoon of mustard over the top then sprinkle a handful of cheese over.

Repeat with the remaining pretzels then bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Serve immediately.

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