I had to do it. When Germany won the game against Brazil on Tuesday, I had to bake pretzels the next day. But what a game it was!
I have to admit: even though I was supporting Germany, I started feeling bad after the 5. goal and wanted Germany to stop already. That was a bit too much! But well, as everything else, I approach to football with added sentimentality.
But the good thing is that it made me try baking pretzels one more time, and this time it was a big success! I adapted the recipe in Amanda’s Cookin’ blog. The first time I tried baking pretzels was some time last autumn and even though they turned out delicious, they were not exactly as how pretzels should have tasted like. But this one turned out quite authentic.
As I understood from the recipe and from baking it myself, there are two important points: 1. leaving pretzels in the fridge uncovered to chill and to form a little crust. 2. soaking them in boiling and bubbling water with baking powder in it. This helps them to have a brown, nice crust while baking, with added flavour. Instead of baking powder, lye can also be used. But this can be quite dangerous, and you have to use safety goggles, rubber gloves and closed shoes so it is perhaps not so wise to try it by yourself at home!!!
So, if you do these two steps, you cannot go wrong with your pretzels. Try it. Then eat them with cream cheese or butter; I tried with both and it is really delicious.
If Germany wins the final game against Argentina on Sunday, you can bake these pretzels to celebrate! But even if not, you can enjoy them anytime. Well but good luck to both teams!
(makes 12 pretzels)
2 packages / 22 gr. dry yeast
1 cup / 2.4 dl lukewarm water
4 cups / 9.6 dl flour
2 tsp / 10 ml salt
1 tsp / 5 ml sugar
3 tbsp / 45 gr. butter
For soda bath:
1/2 cup / 1.2 dl baking soda
2 lt. water
To sprinkle on top:
Coarse salt (well, I used Himalayan salt)
1. In a small bowl with lukewarm water in it, add yeast and mix a little. Leave for 3 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, put flour and salt, mix with your hand and create a well in the middle.
3. In the middle of this well, add sugar and yeast mixture. Leave for 15 minutes.
4. Add butter and start kneading, until you have a smooth dough.
5. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest to proof for 30 minutes.
6. Divide the dough in 12 equal pieces.
7. Roll each piece to a string, about 40-45 cm in size. Then give them the pretzel shape. Put the pretzels on plates and put in the fridge for 1 hour (approximately, I left for about 45-50 minutes). Do not cover them.
8. Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare your baking tray with a baking sheet on (or two baking trays. My oven is quite small so I baked in two batches).
9. In a big pan, put 2 lt. water. I used a large but not so deep pan so that it would be easier to dip the pretzels in and then catch them back. Boil the water. While it is boiling, add baking soda. Now be careful, as soon as you put the baking soda in the water it starts bubbling crazily for a few seconds. That’s why I put the soda in a few batches using a spoon.
10. Once you put all the soda in the water, start dipping your pretzels in it. I dipped each of them for a total of 15 seconds. Catch the pretzel, drain the water and put on the baking tray.
11. Spread a bit of coarse salt on each pretzel. Put in the oven, in the middle rack.
12. Bake for about 20 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Once baked, let them cool and enjoy with cream cheese, butter or a dipping sauce, like mustard or something with garlic. Yumm!