When you think of pretzels what comes to mind?
Do large German people in lederhosen come to mind, like Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka?
Germany is known for pretzels among other things, despite being mainly rooted in the southern portion of the country.
New York is known for the street vendors selling large, soft pretzels as in the photograph above. The city that never sleeps might utterly love pretzels as much as cheesecake or bagels.
When I think of pretzels I think of my brother. During our time spent living in Germany, my brother would go through those frozen packets of ready to bake pretzels every other week. He loved them so and the unfortunate reality is that we cannot buy ready made or large soft pretzels in our part of the world.
My brother and I are kindred souls, cheeky and as immature as we were when we were the height in the photo above. I ordered brother and sister time with him (as older sister I get this privilege) as it had been long enough without.
For a snack during the movie we went to, pretzel’s were just the thing to surprise him with.
Note: Quite a few recipe’s call for Lye in regards to finalizing the taste and results of making them quintessentially pretzel’s. However, reading that lye can cause even blindness, I decided to adapt a recipe that required baking soda instead.
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 8 Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
55g butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and melted butter and knead until well combined.
Once the mixture pulls away from the bowl easily, knead for a 5 or 6 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Take the dough out of the bowl and pour a tablespoon of oil in it, holding the bowl so as to ensure that the base is well coated with oil.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450F and line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Next bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Roll a third of each end thinner then the center. 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.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. From the aroma sweeping through my car on the way to the cinema to the soft taste these really are pretzels despite not having the dark shine on them.
Note: This recipe calls for 1 large egg yolk to be beaten with 1 tablespoon of water and then brushed onto the pretzels just prior to adding the salt. I ran out of time to do this, however, my pretzels looked rather similar to Alton’s despite omitting this one step. If you have time it would probably be best to do this step.