How To Make Pretzels
I like knowing how to make pretzels because hot pretzels are a wonder to behold. Once, when I was visiting Germany I was a served a fresh hot pretzel that was so big and salty I thought I was in carbohydrate heaven. To wash that pretzel down with a beer was indeed a food memory I shall never forget. The Germans know how to make pretzels. The Swiss know how to make pretzels, too. They like to eat them as sandwiches. A ham and raclette cheese pretzel sandwich is something to be desired. The Swiss also have a love for pretzel buns. Long before Wendy’s was hocking pretzel buns for burgers, the Swiss were selling pretzel buns everywhere. They call them laugenbrochen. The laugen-ization is the part where dough starts to become a pretzel. Laugen means lye. Bread dough that is boiled in lye or baking soda then baked has that beautiful dark brown crust pretzels are famous for. YUM!
How To Make Pretzels – The Dough
There isn’t anything particularly unusual about the dough for pretzels. It is, in fact, pretty basic. I go the extra mile of not doing much by using my bread maker’s dough cycle to make it. The specialness is really all in the boiling and flavors.
Click Here For Stand Mixer, Mix by Hand Bread Machine and Food Processor General Guidance
How To Make Pretzels – Gussie Them Up With Cheese and Bacon
Of course, if the creative juices are flowing and I am sitting around thinking about how to make pretzels better, my thoughts turn to cheese. A strong cheese like Pecorino Romano is a very good thing for pretzels. Baking a little in the dough and then sprinkling a lot on top before and after baking really puts the cheese flavor up. It is a little blurry when the idea to sprinkle the top of the pretzels with bacon came to me, but I guess bacon is pretty powerful stuff and it can pop up anytime you are thinking about making just about anything – even dates and brussel sprouts. It is not just any bacon that I like to use, although regular will do. I particularly like pancetta. Check it out at your local Italian specialty shop.
How To Make Pretzels The Water Bath
Whatever you do, don’t be put off by the extra boiling step of pretzel making. It is really easy. Lye probably makes the best pretzels, but baking soda will do the trick. Food grade lye is available at baking shops and on line if you want to give it a try. Less then a minute of boiling is really all you need so it doesn’t add that much time to the process.
Shaping pretzels is easy, too!
The How To Make Pretzels with Pecorino and Pancetta video is below. The full recipe follows.
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese plus extra for sprinkling
- ¼ oz of instant yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1 cup of water
- 4 oz of pancetta slices
- extra pecorino romano cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 4 cups of water
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place all the dough ingredients in the bread machine per the manufacturer's instruction.
- Use the dough cycle.
- While the dough is being made, cook the pancetta in the oven or in a medium pan until just crisp. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel. When cool, rough chop the pancetta with a sharp knife.
- When the dough is done rising, punch it down.
- Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Roll the dough into long ropes and shape into classic pretzel shape. Make a U with the dough rope. Leaving a loop, twist the ends twice. Fold the twist over so the twisted ends touch the loop.
- Let the pretzels rest 15 minutes.
- Add water to a medium pot and bring to boil. Add the baking soda (it will bubble and fizz).
- Cook each pretzel in the boiling water for 45 seconds. Drain the pretzels and place them on a parchment lined baking tray.
- Sprinkle the pancetta on top of the pretzels.
- Lightly salt and pepper the pretzels (take some care here as the pancetta and cheese are also salty). Sprinkle more cheese on the pretzels if desired.
- Bake the pretzel 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with more cheese when the pretzels come out of the oven.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Regular bacon can be used instead of pancetta.
I hope you enjoy!
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