After watching them make pretzels in the Great British bake off I really fancied trying some myself. I hadn’t noticed this recipe in the book until last week, it comes from the recipes around the world chapter and is a German recipe.
Three quarter pint of milk, scalded
1lb 4oz plain flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsps caraway seeds
Melt the butter in the scalded milk; cool until luke warm. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Mix half the egg and the yeast with the lukewarm milk. Next mix in the flour mixture, a little at a time, then 1 tbsp of the caraway seeds; beat until well blended. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp flour over the dough, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size. Once risen knead the dough until smooth. Roll out into a 12 inch roll then cut into 12 equal parts. Roll out each piece between the palms of your hand and tie into a lose knot, tucking the ends in.
Lay 2 pretzels at a time in a large pan full of boiling water. Let them sink, then rise to the surface and lift them out with a slotted spoon; place on a greased baking tray and gently press into original shape. Brush the top with the other egg, then sprinkle with the remaining seeds then leave to rise until doubled in size. Bake at 200 for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with butter, cheese, jam or salad.
Firstly I deliberated over the flour, I know I’ve mentioned before that bread flour wasn’t easy to get hold off back when this book was written, so I felt like I would be cheating if I used it so stuck with the plain flour! There is a chapter in the book on cooking terms; so scalding in terms of milk means heating it until just below boiling point to retard souring!
Usually when I make bread you do the kneading before leaving the dough to prove so I wasn’t too confident that this was going to rise; it was fine though, after 2 hours sitting on my tumble drier it was more than double it’s original size.
After the kneading part comes the shaping, my first few attempts were pretty atrocious! It’s not easy to get that shape, certainly not as simple as the recipe suggest! I did eventually get the hang of it and they started to look like pretzels.
Next was the boiling stage, the recipe says they should sink and then remove when they rise. Well mine did not sink, have no idea why not. They pretty much stayed at the surface of the water no matter how much I pushed them down! I really didn’t know whether I should leave them in or not so had to just stick with the recipe and assume they had to come out when they were on the surface, which meant mine barely had 30 seconds in the water. I tried to re shape them and thought they looked ok just before baking. Although they didn’t double in size at this point.
These smell amazing. They did loose a bit more of their shape in the oven so next time I’d really try roll them much thinner to keep the pretzel shape. Says they should be served warm with butter, jam or cheese, so that’s exactly what I did, not all together obviously, I split one in three and tried with each suggestion. Delicious!