Pretzels

Pretzels are one of my all-time favourite foods but you can’t buy them in many places in England! Although they are traditionally a savoury dough sprinkled with salt, but I love them sweet too.

I first fell in love with pretzels after trying an Auntie Anne’s pretzel whilst abroad and since then I buy one every time I see an Auntie Anne’s shop! My favourite flavour is cinnamon sugar but you can pretty much turn this basic pretzel recipe into whatever flavour you want by making (or buying!) a dipping sauce for them.

Bread is not my forte so I haven’t used my own recipe for this, I’ve pinched and adapted a great Paul Hollywood one which is easy peasy!

MAKES: 12 pretzels

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

2 large baking trays

1 weighing scales

1 large mixing bowl

1 measuring jug

1 metal spoon

1 sieve

1 pair of salad tongs (optional)

1 sharp knife

Cling film or tea towel

Greaseproof/baking paper

INGREDIENTS:

500g strong white flour

7g dried fast-action yeast

several pinches of flaked salt (I used Maldon Sea Salt)

280ml lukewarm milk

20g baking powder

≈2 litres of water

oil for greasing

METHOD:

  1. Add the flour, yeast and a pinch of salt to a large mixing bowl and stir to mix
  2. Gradually add the lukewarm milk and stir with a metal spoon until combined
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and “glossy”. The surface shouldn’t need flouring as the dough isn’t too sticky. (For tips on kneading follow this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques/kneading)
  4. Wipe down the large mixing bowl and grease it with oil, using a bit of kitchen towel is an easy way of doing this
  5. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line baking trays with greaseproof/baking paper
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal lumps
  8. To shape the dough into the classic pretzel shape roll the lumps into sausages around 40cm long that taper at each end and have a slight bulge in the middle. The easiest way to get the twist is to take each end of the dough and manually twist them around each other twice before fixing the tapered end to the bulge slightly apart from each other. Press down lightly to seal, add a dab of water to help them stick.
  9.  Boil around 2 litres of water in a large saucepan and add the baking powder
  10. Place a pretzel in the water using salad tongs or a metal spoon for approximately 5 seconds
  11. Place the pretzel on the lined baking tray and sprinkle with salt while still wet
  12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for all the pretzels, if you don’t want them all salty then leave out the salt-sprinkling
  13. Cut a deep slash into the bulge in the dough using a sharp knife
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes until dark golden in colour
  15. Remove from the oven and leave to cool

Although there are many steps to this recipe it is a surprisingly easy bread recipe and the outcome is simply delicious! If you have a sweet tooth haven’t added salt to your pretzels you can spread melted butter on top and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar! Alternatively as I mentioned above, you can keep them plain and dip them in a sweet sauce or melted chocolate – yummy!

I shop at Morrisons and this bake cost me a measly 70p (when made plain). Is that a bargain or what? How can you resist that taste and price!

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