Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Penta-Pretzels DIY

 I had this idea for ages, ever since being in Germany and eating so very many delicious Brezeln, and wondering if I could make them a different shape. Over there you can buy them unbaked and frozen in the supermarket in big boxes to bake at home, and I'd thought about just thawing those out and reshaping them. But no, that would be cheating, and it turns out they're exceedingly easy to make, and this recipe tastes exactly like the authentic thing. I didn't take this exact recipe from anywhere in particular, but rather watched a bunch of videos in German and read several different German recipes to get the gist of how they're made. These are awesome for picnics or parties. You can use a different amount of dough to make them larger or smaller to your liking. You can of course use this recipe to make pretzels in the traditional shape, but because we're weird, let's make them pentacle shaped.

Video:


Ingredients/Zutaten:

  • 3 1/2 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) warm water
  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast or a cube of fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 25-50g butter
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda

Method/Zubereitung:
  1. Put flour into a large mixing bowl (or bread machine if you're lazy like me) and make a little well in the centre.
  2. Into the well pour your warm water. You can also use slightly warm milk instead of water. 
  3. Sprinkle the yeast onto the water (or crumble if using fresh yeast), then add the sugar. Give it a wee stir.
  4. Having ideally let it soften first, add the butter.
  5. Knead the dough until well mixed. Leave the dough to rise for about 20 minutes, it should hopefully double in size.
  6. Divide the dough into about eight equal pieces, but this will depend on how big you want your pretzels to be.
  7. Between your hands, roll the dough out into very long, thin sausages. The part for the ring should be thicker, but the star part shouldn't be much thicker than a pencil.
  8. Make a ring and twist the ends together. Carefully lay the thinner sausage over the ring in the shape of a five-pointed star. Pinch the corners and mush the dough carefully into the ring to ensure a good shape and a good stick.
  9. Be careful here! Boil a litre of water in a pot. Add three tablespoons of baking soda to the hot water, and turn down the heat so it stays hot but not boiling. If you are making a big batch, remember to use three tablespoons of baking soda per every litre of hot water. 
  10. Gently place each pretzel into the water, and leave it there for 30-60 seconds. Make sure the whole thing gets wet. This process is what gives the pretzel its lovely brown exterior. With a slotted spoon or similar, lift the pretzel from the water and place it on a baking tray.
  11. While wet, sprinkle thick chunky salt on. You can use other toppings too if you really want.
  12. Preheat oven to 180˚C (360˚F) and once heated, bake your pretzels for 20-25 minutes. They should be brown and properly baked. 
  13. Best enjoyed warm and fresh, but they'll keep for a day. Guten Appetit!

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