Pretzels are a chewy invention from Germany, but can be found all over the world nowadays. The pretzels can be made as a cookie, as a small bread or as a larger variety of 30cm. They are traditionally pre-cooked in a water bath, which I haven’t done in this recipe. The pretzels do turn out chewier if they are first cooked.
- 260gr strong bread flour
- 5gr dried yeast
- 130gr water (130ml)
- 500gr strong bread flour
- 6gr dried yeast
- 15gr sugar
- 10gr salt
- 50gr butter, unsalted
- 100gr milk, scalded and cooled to room temperature
- 100gr water
- 1 egg
- Coarse sea salt
Makes 12 Pretzels
Combine the first 3 ingredients into a dough. Knead it to develop the gluten until you can stretch the dough to form see-through membranes (see the White Bread recipe or the Techniques section for details). Cover the dough and leave to rest overnight on a cool place, but not in the fridge.
The next day, add all the remaining ingredients except the egg and coarse sea salt to the dough. Be careful to not put the salt on top of the yeast before adding milk and water, as the salt will kill the living yeast. Knead the dough well to develop the gluten. As this is a tough dough, you will need to use some muscles.
Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest until doubled in size.
Tip the contents of the bowl out on your very lightly oiled kitchen countertop. Fold the dough in on itself to form a tight ball (for details, see the white bread recipe or the techniques section) and cut it into 12 equal parts using a dough scraper. This is easiest by cutting the dough into 4 equal quarters, and then cutting each quarter into three equal wedges.
Now you have to make it look like a Pretzel. Roll out a piece of dough into a long sausage shape. Lay the dough in a u-shape, then cross the ends over eachother. Cross the ends twice more, which in turn twists the strands. Flip the ends towards the thicker middle of the pretzel and glue them onto the dough.
You can also twist the ends together after you formed a circle, or do this intricate twist with the entire pretzel hanging from your hands (youtube has lovely videos) but the u-shape method is much simpler to master.
Brush the pretzels with egg wash and leave them to prove until doubled in size, uncovered. Brush them again with the egg and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top.
Place the Pretzels in an oven which has been pre-heated to 250°C. Turn down the oven temperature to 230°C and bake them for 12-14 minutes.