The other day the First Reader had mentioned pretzels. And he wasn’t talking about the hard ones I buy in bulk for kid snacks. I knew what he meant… the warm, soft, delicious things that most people associate with overpriced mall vendors of dubious origin.
I’ve made soft pretzels before, and they aren’t difficult to shape. But they hadn’t quite tasted right. It wasn’t an egg wash – I’d tried that. So I went hunting online, and as soon as I read this recipe, I knew what I’d been missing.
The trick is a bath for the dough, soaking it in baking soda and water, before cooking the pretzels. The result is the salty-bitter flavor we associate with pretzels, rather than just breadsticks. Also, it gives the lovely finished color of these which makes them not just tasty, but beautiful food. If you follow the link, you’ll see that the writer experimented with combinations of soaking/drying to see if that made a difference, and it did. I didn’t experiment, much. But you know me, I can rarely leave a recipe alone.
I made some small adjustments to the dough. As the recipe is written, it was very dry. Also, I was out of butter, so I skipped that part. I’ll try it another time, but frankly these don’t need it.
- 5 c all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 1/4 cups warm (not hot)water
- 4 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 c water
- 4 tbsp baking soda
How did they come out? Well, I was raving on facebook about them. The kids scarfed down their share. The First Reader got that look on his face – oh, how I love when I get that look! – and put some aside for lunch, then had two with polish sausage for dinner.
I’ll make them again, soon, and probably often.