Pretzels

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This recipe is a variation on the soft pretzels made at a little European style bakery not far from where I used to live. I did an assignment on food production in Year 11 at school – on pretzels. The bakers were generous to let me join them to watch and learn so Dad and I went along at 4:30 or so in the morning one Saturday and learnt the art of Bavarian pretzel making. This recipe is the modified-okay-to-bake-in-the-kitchen-at-home version and results, not in dark shiny pretzels exactly like the shop (this would require a much more alkaline ‘bath’ instead of the vinegar used here), but in a yummy, doughy, slightly salty treat great for lunches or snacks. I did a little tiny bit of researching – apparently early pretzels were modeled with scraps of dough into treats that mimicked the folded arms of a child praying. I’d have to find out whether my sources are accurate but it is certainly a cute story. These pretzels are certainly worth being thankful for – hope you enjoy them!

Ingredients
500g Bakers Flour
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp table salt
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 tsp butter
3 ½ tsp gluten flour
300mL warm water

Wash
500mL water
500mL vinegar
¼ cup rock salt

1.     Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2.     Rub the butter through the dry ingredients till it is dispersed.
3.     Gradually add the water into the dry ingredients, mixing till combined.
4.     Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and regular.
5.     Divide into 8 segments.
6.     Take one segment, roll it out into a flat circle about 2 mm thick. Then roll the circle into a sausage shape (the cross section would be a spiral). Roll the sausage into a long rope that is thicker in the middle.
7.     Twist the ends together then fold the twisted section into the loop formed and place the ends on the opposite side of the loop – the thickest part of the dough rope.
8. Combine the water, vinegar and salt to make the wash and dip the pretzel into it.
9. Place on a greased oven tray, slash the thick part of the pretzel and sprinkle with salt.
10. Bake at 180oC for about 20 minutes, turning the trays after the pretzels have begun to colour so they are brown all over.
11. Serve and enjoy that day.

… with many thanks to Arthur and Billy, without whose generosity this recipe and post would not have been possible! 

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