So today I made pretzels! The nice doughy German kind that you can never get here except when the German market pitches up for Christmas. I found the recipe online, at bittersweetbaker, and made a few dinky changes to suit me.
To make the Dough you need:
1.5 cups warm water
2.5 tsp salt
2.25 tsp instant yeast
22oz plain (all purpose) flour
4tbsp butter, melted (which means you measure it then you melt it)
Combine water, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and stir slowly until dissolved. You may have to squish little clumps of yeast which form. Then add the flour and melted butter and mix until it comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Then transfer into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film (plastic wrap). Leave it somewhere warm for 50-55 min, until its about doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220 C (or 450 F) and put 5 cups of water on to boil. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each one into a 24-inch (60cm) snake. Curl the ends round to make a circle
Then cross the ends over and tuck them round to make that classic knot shape
Lay them out on trays lined with NON STICK or GREASED BAKING PAPER. Not greaseproof paper like me. Greaseproof paper is not non-stick. It is about un-non-stick as you can get, apparently.
Anyway, by now your oven should be hot and your water boiling. Add 1/3 cup bicarbonate of soda/sodium bicarbonate/baking soda to the water. It looks awesome.
Then place each pretzel in, one at a time, for 30 seconds each. This is the part that's going to make them nice and hard on the outside!
Although at the moment they'll just be weird and slimy. My dough cracked because I'm rubbish at rolling dough snakes. Don't be like me. Or do, because the cracks wind up looking kind of cool, as you will see later on.
Next mix up 1 egg yolk and 1tbsp water and brush it all over the tops of your boiled pretzels, for colour and shine. If you like crunchy salt crystals, sprinkle over some kosher salt at this point. Beware making them too salty though - you may wish to cut down on the salt in the dough.
Then put the trays in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, turning half way through. Also swap them top to bottom, so that one lot don't brown too much and the other not enough.
Cool them for at least five minutes so as not to burn your poor fingers, then eat warm, or save them for later. Good with butter and cheese or ham. I've never tried them with anything sweet, but given the recent trend of salty chocolate (weirdos) then I suppose they might be good with chocolate spread or dipped in melted.
And DON'T forget to use NON STICK PAPER unless you want to go without the bottom layer of crust, which is just as yummy as the top layer.
*EDIT*: Hi guys. I have corrected the amount of salt in the recipe and made things slightly clearer about the salt crystals you typically see on these pretzels.
Also, I was at the German Christmas Market the other day and bought an authentic German pretzel and found the flavour to be a bit different from these. Will have to make another batch and do some comparisons to see how I can make this recipe more like the real German ones!