This week I chose to make Rock Salt Savoury Pretzels, I chose to make pretzels because of the German Christmas Markets opening, in Birmingham and Manchester. Pretzels are known for symbolising ‘good luck’ and ‘spiritual wholeness’, due to the holes in the common pretzel shape which are said to represent the Holy Trinity. More commonly today, the connotations of ‘good luck’ which the pretzel represents is connected to holidays including New Years Day and Easter in Germany.
Today Pretzels are most popular in Germany and America, and people have started experimenting more with flavours and recipes. In America, they are normally covered in rock salt, and hard baked pretzels are commonly dipped in chocolate or yoghurt, whilst soft pretzels are served with mustard and soft cheese. I have made an accompany blog post with an recipe for Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce which will be perfect for dipping delicious pretzels in.
So here is what you will need for these mouth-watering treats. Remember that this is an advanced recipe and takes extra time for prooving.
450 grams/ 15 ounces of Plain Flour (You will also need some for kneading)
7 grams of Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tablespoon of Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
240 millilitres/ 8 fluid ounces of Warm Water
3 tablespoons and 3 teaspoons of Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tablespoons of Coarse Salt
1. PREPARE THE DOUGH
– In your large bowl, using a wooden spoons, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. After this you need to add the warm water, it must be between 46°C and 52°C. Use your instant read thermometer to check the temperature. Pour the water and three tablespoons of vegetable oil into the flour mixture.
– Stir with the wooden spoon until a rough, shaggy dough is formed.
2. KNEAD THE DOUGH
– Sprinkle a work surface with some plain flour and place your dough onto the floured surface. The dough will need kneading for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and no longer sticky. I would suggest that this is made easier if you flour your hands and keep adding flour to the surface as needed to prevent sticking.
– Gather the dough into a ball. Wipe out your bowl and oil it with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Put the dough into the bowl and turn your dough to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film wrap. Set the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size. When the dough has sat for this time, poke with your finger to see if it is ready. If an indent from your finger stays in the dough, it is ready! However, if the dough bounces back, let the dough sit for an additional 10 minutes and then check again, and if necessary repeat again .
4. Form your Pretzels
– For preparation, oil two baking sheets with roughly two tablespoons of oil. Place your dough onto a clean work surface and press gently to deflate. Cut the dough into roughly 10 equal pieces with a sharp knife.
– Work with one piece of dough at a time and keep the remaining pieces loosely covered with cling film wrap. Using the palms of your hands and roll the dough into a rope about 50cm long, adding flour only if needed to prevent sticking. Repeat this step with the remaining pieces of dough.
– Twist each rope into a pretzel by making an oval about 7 1/2 cm wide. At the top of the oval, twist the rope together twice, or three times if it will stretch to it.
– Bring the ends of the rope to the bottom of the oval so that the twist is in the middle. Press down the ends so the dough sticks. Divide the pretzels evenly between the two prepared baking sheets. cover the pretzels loosely with plastic wrap and set the baking sheets in a warm spot, once again. Let the pretzels rise for about 20 minutes, until they have puffed and doubled in size.
5. BOIL YOUR PRETZELS
-Fill a large saucepan two thirds full of water and stir in the bicarbonate of soda with a slotted spoon. Bring the water to a rolling boil over a high heat.
– Remove the cling film from the baking sheets. Using the slotted spoon, lift the pretzels individually off the baking sheet and carefully place it into the boiling water. BE CAREFUL: the steam and water will be very hot!
-Boil the pretzel for about 30 seconds, until it floats to the surface . Turn the pretzel over with the slotted spoon and boil for 30 more seconds. Using the slotted spoon, remove the pretzel and return it to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels, making sure to place them 5cm apart on the baking sheets for baking.
6.SALT AND BAKE THE PRETZELS
-Sprinkle each pretzel with coarse salt. Put one baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. until they turn a deep golden brown colour. Using your oven gloves, remove the baking sheet from the oven and make use to set it on a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
I hope you have enjoyed baking these delicious pretzels, and enjoy this German delicacy.