Friday, July 12, 2013

Soft Pretzels

Word is that the unique shape of the current day interlocked pretzel came from olden day Bakers in desperate need of more space, thus they looped the pretzels to be able to hang on sticks, creating more space for the other pastries in the showcase.

Further, some say the name pretzel roots back to the Latin words bracellus, meaning bracelet, or bracchiola, meaning little arms. Interesting tidbit.

Either way, soft pretzels make for a delicious snack, and when done right, a healthy one, too!

1/4 cup of Baking Soda
4-5 cups of water
Slotted Spoon

Optional: 1 Egg and 2 Tablespoons of course Sea Salt

1)  Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2)  In a medium sauce pot, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, slowly add the Baking Soda - watch  out for any fizzing over. Stir with slotted spoon to avoid overspill. Keep water at a medium boil.

3)  Shape your pizza dough into pretzels.

Tear off a strip of the pizza dough. I cheat a little and find it easier to peel around the edge of the dough so it is already formed in a rope-like shape.

Using your hand, smooth out the ropes. They can be anywhere in length from 10 inches to 15 inches, depending on how big, thick, or fat you like your pretzels.

Make a horseshoe with your rope. Holding each end in opposite hands (make a cross with your wrists), bring the ends together, uncrossing your arms so one end is on top of the other.

Pull the ends down. Tuck the ends under at the bottom and pinch together to stick.

Or, back up a step... you can give the horseshoe a twist before folding down the ends.  It adds a bit of fun to the pretzel shape.

4)  Place the shaped pretzel into the boiling soda water. The pretzel should float to the top. Once it forms a clear crusty outside, it is ready. This takes about 1 minute.

5)  Remove the pretzel using the slotted spoon and place it on the lined cookie sheet.

6)  Repeat steps 3 - 5 until you have used all of your dough, or have the number of pretzels you wish to make.

OPTIONAL: Brush the top of the pretzels with an Egg white wash and sprinkle each pretzel with the desired amount of course Sea Salt. The wash will give the pretzels a shiny coating and the salt will not only look pretty, but give it that extra punch of carnival flavor.

7)  Place the pretzels on the cookie tray in the oven for ~15 minutes, until they turn a golden brown.

Serve up with some hot mustard, or cheese, or just eat them in their natural goodness.