One bite into a warm homemade pretzel and I was hooked. Like so many other baked items, pretzels are so much better when they’re made from scratch. Bearing a plate of freshly-baked pretzels, my friend Miho came to visit. As I sampled a poppy seed-covered one, I was immediately impressed with its soft chewy texture. After savoring every last salty bit of it, I asked her, “How did you make this?” She replied, “It’s easy.” I laughed. She obviously wasn’t aware of the fact that I bake bread bricks. “I will show you,” she said. And that she did. She came over again and guided me through the step-by-step process of pretzel-making. With new found excitement to experiment with yeast, I’m planning to make trays and trays of these twisted wonders. Spirits “rise” when you bake with friends!
Raley’s Something Extra Magazine
Prep: 30 minutes
Rise: 45 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes total
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp. sugar
1 package Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast
3 to 3-1/3 cups flour, plus extra for kneading, divided
2 tbsp. baking soda
Freshly ground sea salt
1. Place water in a large mixer bowl and sprinkle sugar and yeast over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes or until yeast starts to foam. Beat in 2 cups flour until smooth.
2. Using a dough hook, beat in remaining flour. Knead several times on a lightly floured board and place in a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat both sides. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each into a 15-inch long piece and twist into pretzel shapes. Let rise for 15 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; stir in baking soda. Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle with a few grinds of salt. Drop pretzels a few at a time into boiling water, cooking for 15 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional salt and bake for 10 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
1. Use coarse salt to sprinkle on the pretzels before baking.
2. Miho sprinkles poppy seed and/or sesame seeds on the pretzels prior to baking.
3. We cut the dough into 8 pieces, to make slightly smaller pretzels.
4. To shape the pretzels, Miho told me to make a loop first and then to twist the ends together and then twist them again. The twisted ends are then folded down on top of the loop.