There are many and varied stories relating to the origin of the pretzel, at best I can conclude that they started somewhere in Europe a really, really long time ago. Nowadays it is pretty much accepted that they belong to Germany. There are a number of different methods to achieve the chewy brown crust, I boil mine in baking soda and brown sugar. Traditionally, pretzels are dipped in an extremely caustic solution of lye – boiling water is hazardous enough for me. Pretzels are a great snack or side for soup.
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- vegetable oil spray
- 1/4 cup coarse salt optional
- Put warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy.
- Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and pulse to combine, then process for about 30 seconds or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn out into an oiled bowl and let rise for about one hour.TIP - at this point the dough can be refrigerated (or frozen). Ideally in a zip top bag or bags for later use. Cold dough must sit at room temperature for at least two hours before moving on to the next step.
- Divide the dough into four pieces. Using your hands and a lightly floured surface, roll each dough piece into a long snake shape, about one inch thick.
- With a dough cutter or knife, cut the dough snake into bite size pieces, or longer pieces to twist into a pretzel shape and set aside. Keep the cut pieces dusted with a little flour and covered with plastic while you work. Continue with the other three pieces of dough.
- Allow the dough to sit under plastic for about 20 to 30 minutes to rise.Meanwhile, boil 8 cups of water in a large pot.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- When the water boils add baking soda and brown sugar.
- Using a slotted spoon, drop the pretzels/dough bites into the boiling water a few at a time
- Scoop the pretzels out when they float to the top and place on the baking tray. Continue with all the bites, scooping onto the baking sheet.
- Once all pretzels are boiled, spray with vegetable oil spray and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake the pretzels for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
- Serve warm.