Sorry for the slight absence. Things have been a little overwhelming lately and I tried my best to cope with everything. But I am back and I am back with warm soft pretzels.
I don’t know why but for some reason I’ve been intimidated by this recipe. Wanted to try it for years, never managed to and for no good reason. But really it’s such an easy one.
The original recipe requiers Lye for dipping the pretzels in before baking. In case you don’t know what Lye is, is a metal hydroxide traditionally obtained by leaching ashes (containing largely potassium carbonate or “potash”), or a strong alkali which is highly soluble in water producing caustic basic solutions. Lye is commonly an alternative name of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or historically potassium hydroxide (KOH), though the term “lye” refers to any member of a broad range of metal hydroxides. Or if you’re Romanian and reading this, it’s Sodă Caustică. By dipping the pretzels in the diluted solution you’ll get the super shiny and deep brown look when baked. But why would you wanna do that to your body?
This recipe doesn’t require Lye dipping. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will do the job just fine. Not as shiny results but at least we’re not poisoning ourselves.
As mentioned earlier, the recipe is easy and from 425 grams of flour you’ll get 6 pretzels. If you wanna bake more by all means double or triple this recipe.
- 425 grams white flour
- 1 tbsp butter or lard
- 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 180 grams lukewarm water
- 50 grams baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate)
- coarse sea salt
- in a big bowl, add all of the ingredients, minus the salt and half of flour; mix everything until you get a shaggy mass; add the salt and the rest of the flour and knead for 10 minutes or up until you get a firm but soft and elastic dough;
- divide the dough into 100 grams ball of dough and allow them to rest for 5 minutes;
- roll each dough ball into a 50 cm long rope with the middle thicker and the ends thinner; the middle of the rope will be your pretzel’s ‘fat belly’;
- lift both ends, twist them around each other once, then bring ends back and press them on either side of fat “belly,” at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock;
- add them to a baking sheet and let them rest, covered at room temperature, for 30 minutes;
- after they rested 30 minutes, let them sit in the fridge for 1h, or overnight;
- preheat oven at 180°C;
- in a pot add 1/4 cup of baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) and enough water to fill half your pot; allow it to boil;
- when the water starts boiling, bring it to a medium heat and dip each pretzel in for 15 seconds on each side; set the pretzels back to the baking sheet;
- with a sharp knife, score the belly of the pretzel to allow the dough to rise properly while baking; add the salt on top;
- bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or up until they turn deep brown in color.
Enjoy them warm with butter and beer!