Check it out! I baked my own pretzels! Yay! (Hehe, and I just realised that I have three posts in a row with a pretzel as the first picture!)
The week before PORKTOBERFEST II, I was undecided as to whether I'd bake pretzels. I really, really wanted some freshly baked Bavarian deliciousness, but I just wasn't sure if I'd have time on the day. But then I saw a recipe for them in Gourmet Traveller, and that made up my mind for me. (The recipe is here, on the Gourmet Traveller website).
I know you can buy pretzels here, but they're never really impressive. I'd say Lueneburger or Brezel Biz are the best you can buy in Melbourne, but I'm still not super-keen on them. Whilst I think they're made reasonably well, pretzels are only really good when they're fresh out of the oven. After they've been sitting around for a few hours, you may as well not bother. And this is where home-made pretzels will always have the edge over store-bought ones, no matter how rough and ramshackle they are. (Oh, how I miss Grimminger bakery, and their constant stream of hot pretzels, baked throughout the day!)
I made and kneaded the dough the night before and let it have a slow rise in the fridge overnight.
Early on the morning of the party, I got rolling! (You may remember the last time I made pretzels, with Duncan and Thanh, I struggled to roll the dough out into long sausage shapes, but this time I had no such trouble - woo!)
You'll see from the first picture in this post that my pretzels were quite thick - I didn't think they'd expand so much; next time I'd definitely roll them thinner.
Traditionally the pretzels are poached in a solution of lye (AKA caustic soda) before being baked, to give them their characteristic colour and taste. Gourmet Traveller's recipe, however, has a much simpler poaching liquid: water and baking soda. Much easier for home cooks!
|Raw on the left, poached on the right|
|Brushed with egg-yolk glaze|
And before you worry about excess salt consumption, remember that in Germany, people just rub off the excess salt with their fingers before eating.
Ooh look - they split just like real pretzels do!
I also loved the pretty patterns they left on the baking paper.
Don't you just love this pretzel bread-bag? I got it at Tchibo in Germany, and thought it was sooo super-cute! Love!
The pretzels were really easy (all the kneading was done in a mixer), and so lovely fresh out of the oven. I think I'll be baking these a lot from now on!