Sometimes the best advice you can give yourself is, “Not to get yourself into a twist.” That is, if you aren’t making pretzels! We all sat down and had a little chat and the general puzzling thought was, “Why haven’t we talked about pretzels yet?” Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a warm, soft, fresh out of the oven pretzel. I think we can all agree that having one of those right now sounds wonderful. So let’s talk pretzels.
Where did they come from and when and maybe even why. Pretzel are a German food. To get that specific tangy pretzel flavor, people would use a lye wash (this can be dangerous though and I don’t recommend it) but more common now is a baking soda wash. Now there are all sorts of unreliable rumors, tales, and legends that talk about where the pretzel comes from.
This one is my favorites: Around the year 610 AD this Italian monk was looking for a way to reward children who studied hard and learned their prayers. Fresh off his brain and out of the oven… the pretzel! He calls the strips of baked dough that were folded to resemble arms crossed across the chest, “pretiola’ or little rewards. Is it true? Maybe? Are they delicious? Absolutely. Now stop reading and get baking!
Soft Pretzel Twists:
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
kosher salt, for topping
- In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. Knead the dough until windowpane stage. Oil another bowl and place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375f degrees.
- In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake in oven until browned, about 10 minutes.