It’s not Oktoberfest without pretzels, and if you’re going to do something like this, you do it properly. As soon as we decided Oktoberfest was happening, I concurrently decided that home made pretzels were going to happen, too. I was going to make them myself, from scratch, and they were going to be awesome (God willing). Guess the baking gods were smiling on me, because I nailed them!
With a fantastic recipe I got from Feast Magazine (no idea how long ago it was, I just know that I cut it out and kept it, knowing that one day, surely, I’d need it), I steeled myself to face what I assumed would be a cumbersome and daunting task. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Completely anti-climactic. There was nothing complicated or scary about this at all! I wish I could claim I’d slaved away for hours, and that there was a terrifying kitchen experience to tell everyone about when they first saw these golden twists, but actually, the process isn’t as impressive as the end result looks!
Don’t get me wrong; just because the procedure wasn’t laborious and complex doesn’t mean the end product wasn’t a thing of beauty. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of anything I’ve baked before these pretzels. They were literally the definition of perfect! Once they’ve sat out of the oven for a while, they harden up like a proper, legitimate Brauhaus type pretzel. They’re crunchy on the outside and impossible soft and airy on the inside. They are a dead set, top notch professional job. Henceforth, pretzels shall be made regularly in my kitchen, and shall be consumed with beer and wine, regardless of the time of year. They’re that good!
To make 12:
– 525g plain flour
– 375ml lukewarm milk
– 1tsp caster sugar
– 7g sachet dried yeast
– coarse salt to sprinkle on top
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl with around 1tsp salt.
2. In a small bowl, combine the milk, sugar and yeast, stirring to dissolve.
3. Pour the milk mix into the flour and stir it to combine. Then, using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead/mix the dough for around 10 minutes; it should form a soft and smooth and very elastic dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and divide into 12 equal pieces. Gently roll the dough pieces into long, thin logs (around 40-50cm long).
5. Twist the dough into pretzel shape by laying it in a U shape, then cross the ends over and and bring both ends back to the curve in the U. Dab a little water onto the two ends before you press them down onto the U to join them. Place them on a large plate or baking tray lined with baking paper as you go.
6. Let the pretzels sit uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate preferably overnight, but no less than 3 hours.
7. After they’ve rested, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
8. Combine 1L water, 1tbs salt and 1tbs bicarb soda in a large pot. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Immerse each pretzel, one at a time, in the solution for 10 seconds, then return to a baking paper lined oven teat. Sprinkle each with salt, and bake for 15 minutes, or until nicely golden. Eat them warm with a little butter and mustard. Or cold, with butter and mustard. Just eat lots of them, they’re so, so good!