Making Pretzels can be a fun experience. I decided in the celebration of National Pretzel Day, October 26th, to make homemade pretzels from scratch. Not only is it a special day, but the entire month can be dedicated to it along with Oktoberfest Celebrations. Pretzels are a perfect snack to combine with the German beers of Oktoberfest. They can be a sweet desert too! A neat fact about pretzels, referring to getting married is ‘tying the knot’, and this is from a pretzel knot. It is a symbol of marriage.
I ended up making two different recipes from online for pretzels. This is the first one I made.
This one was a “Buttery Soft Pretzel” from allrecipes.com. This is a sweeter, buttery taste that surprised me on how well it came out! This was my first time working with yeast, so I was nervous about the end product! I am new to all this cooking and baking from scratch thing, so I am learning and loving every moment of it. This recipe, prep-time, and clean up took a total of four hours. It can definitely be shorter, but being new with the yeast and never baking a pretzel before I took my time.
The recipe is pictured above, and explains the required ingredients: yeast, white sugar, warm water, flour, salt, vegetable oil, baking soda, and big salt, for the top of the pretzels. I decided to lay everything out, before starting to mix the products together. I also did a very amateur video of me mixing and explaining things for the Buttery Soft Pretzel, which can be seen on tumblr at http://beautifltragedi.tumblr.com. I want to stress the word amateur.
Next, I began working on the yeast. I poured a packet of yeast into a bowl and added one teaspoon of sugar and the warm water. I let it stand until it got a creamy look to it, almost cloudy.
Then, in another bowl I combined the flour, sugar, and salt and made a spot in the middle to pour the yeast mixture and oil. First, I used a mixer on the lowest speed to start the mixing process, then switched to using my hands. My dough was very crumbly and dry so, I decided to add a bit more water; I ended up adding about ¼ cup of water more than what the recipe called for. This might have been too much, I jumped the gun, but in the end it worked out fine! Before letting the new yeast mix to set, oil it. The recipe says to have oil in a bowl and dip it in; instead I took a brush and brushed it all over the dough.
The next step was to let the yeast set. The recipe said to allow the yeast to rise for an hour; I let it sit for about an hour and twenty minutes. Then, I set up a cutting board to roll the dough on, got a rolling pin, and put flour on both. I also measured out water, baking soda, and the salt for the top of the pretzels. The final step before handling the dough was to set the oven to 450 degrees.
I rolled out the dough to be about a half of an inch. I sliced long strips, as seen below, until all the dough was sliced. I would recommend keeping it thick and to keep the strips as long and think as possible. The thick short strips mad it hard for me to roll and fold into a pretzel. That is why my pretzels in the end are very thick.
Now, the fun part, folding the pretzel! It took me forever to get it perfect, the last pretzels are better than the first. Below, is a step by step picture that shows the three ‘folds’ to create the pretzel shape.
Once the the all of the dough was folded, I placed them on a baking sheet. I used a ceramic baking sheet and a small metal baking sheet, since they didn’t fit on one. Either cooking way, they turned out great, there was no major difference.
I had them in for 8 minutes, but I had a few that were thicker than the others. Those I left in about 12 minutes to make sure they were cooked through. Some got a little dark, almost looked burnt, but they were not and they ended up being my favorite ones!
This is my final product! My family absolutely loved them too. My uncle told me that the pretzel is the best pretzel he has ever had, it was so delicious, tasted fresh and had a delightful taste.
I personally agree with him, these are sweet and almost taste buttery, even though no butter is used. These are a lot of work, but so worth it in the end. It is not an everyday baking item, but definitely worth it as a special treat every so often.
*To see the second recipe, here is the link: