Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Soft Pretzels

This week we’re talking soft pretzels. I thought it would be nice to have a change from the usual cakes and biscuits, so as a result, have decided to venture into the world of savoury baked goods...for this week at least.

I personally was first introduced to the soft pretzel many years ago on my family’s first visit to the USA. We went to Disney World, Florida and it seemed as though it was compulsory for there to be a pretzel stand at least every 100 yards. We’ve visited more than a few times and we seem to enjoy a giant soft pretzel at least once every visit. Family pretzel time!

Saying all this though, I have since seen them in pretty much all of the major shopping centres at home too!

Saying all this though, I have since seen them in pretty much all of the major shopping centres at home too!

Crispy, soft, buttery and salty, these pretzels are sure to be a favourite with any carbohydrate lover (aka any normal human being). Traditionally eaten dipped in mustard, I’ve also included a sweet option for those who really have to have a sweet on their Treat Friday! 

Now there are quite a few different steps to this recipe but don’t let that put you off! I haven’t made them in a while and when I dug up the recipe for this week, even I had a moment of ‘well, I’m not sure if I can be bothered will all of that!’ BUT it is so worth and not that difficult when it comes down to it. Probably the most irritating and by far the most fiddly part of the recipe is the shaping of the pretzels themselves. Also, with having to wait for the dough to rise for at least an hour, they’re not going to be made in a hurry. If you follow the steps below however, they’ll be great in the end!

Some final tips before you get started:
  • If you have a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, your life is going to be so much easier with this recipe! It’s pretty much a case of putting it all in the bowl and just timing how long it needs to knead for. It can of course be done by hand, it just requires a little bit of effort!
  • Kneading your dough for at least 10 minutes is KEY. I speak from experience having tried to make this recipe at 9pm last night after just getting in from work and the gym. I was very lazy and couldn’t really be bothered to knead for that long....I ended up with a lump of dough that wouldn’t rise. It went in the bin and I had to get up at 6am this morning to have another go. You have been warned.
  • Traditionally, plain pretzels are left just salted. Lovely. As I said though, they’re great sweet with a cinnamon sugar covering. I’ve used that left over from the Jam Doughnut Muffins we made several weeks ago. You can find the recipe for the sugar here. Just brush melted butter over the baked pretzels and cover with sugar. 
Soft Pretzels (From Rachel Allen’s Bake)

600g Plain Flour
1 tsp. Fast-Acting Yeast
2 tbsp. Soft Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
375ml Warm Tap Water

75g Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Litre Water
1 Egg Mixed with 1 tbsp. Water

1)      Mix the flour, yeast, light brown sugar and salt together in a large bowl or in a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook.
2)      In a measuring jug, mix together the warm tap water and vegetable oil. If using a freestanding mixer, slowly add to the dry ingredients running the mixer at a low speed. If mixing by hand, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the water and oil, slowly bring together until combined.
3)      Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until you have a smooth, firm dough that springs back when pressed. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn until the dough is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1-3 hours until it has doubled in size.
4)      Preheat the oven to 230◦C and line several baking trays with greaseproof paper.
5)      Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, punch out the excess air and divide into 10-14 equal pieces.  Roll each one into a thin rope and shape into a pretzel (see pictures above). Place on the baking sheets, cover and allow to rise for another 10-20 minutes.
6)      In a large, shallow saucepan bring 1 litre of water to a boil and dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in it. Place each pretzel in the boiling water and poach for 30 seconds on each side (don’t poach more than 3 at a time, use a slotted spoon to turn). Drain and return to the baking trays. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle the savoury pretzels with sea salt crystals.
7)      Bake for 8 minutes, turning halfway so both sides are crisp, until golden brown. For the sweet pretzels, while still warm, brush with warm golden syrup or honey and sprinkle this with cinnamon sugar.


Post a Comment