Salt, yeast, flour, water.
These are the four main ingredients found in all yeasted doughs and breads. Doesn’t really seem like a lot of ingredients does it? Well considering the endless list of ingredients in processed food found at your local superstore, it doesn’t. But like many things in life – greatness is not accrued or judged by the amount of things you have but is achieved by how you use what you have to turn something little or insignificant into something great – such is the story of the pretzel.
The humble beginning of the pretzel is rumoured to have arisen around 610 A.D. where stories existed of Italian monks giving their students savoury and delicious baked dough with twisted arms in the middle representing the traditional posture for prayer. Moving through history, the pretzel’s three holes came to represent the Holy Trinity – Father Son and Holy Spirit and theirein lies the secret of the pretzel – the symbolic representation of prosperity, good life and good fortune. As for the name, there is some speculation that that they were originally called “bracellae” the latin word for “little arms” – which then Germans eventually derived into the word “bretzel.”¹
Its unfathomable that something seemingly so insignificant has such an interesting and complicated background. It kind of puts things into perspective and helps you to appreciate the small things just a little bit more; its one of my favourite things about creating in the kitchen, other than eating that is…
Pretzels to me represent community. They are the delicious, warm, buttery and salty treat that you share with a loved one when you attend a local fair. They are the salty snack of prefrence you share with your friends during longs hours of binge-watching your favourite show or the snack you pass around during a family movie night. Unity is the heart & soul of this delicious treat which is why I teamed up with my good friend Jess for this recipe! She has been helping me up my social media presence as of late and also took all the photos for today’s recipe! If you like her work be sure to check out her Website social media page and give her a follow… she is a very talented up and coming photographer and I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t believe she was incredibly talented!
By now I am sure your appetite for pretzels has grown immensely as has mine… so lets begin!
PRETZELS – A Jeffrey Hamelman Recipe
Yield = 12 Pretzels at 3 oz
What you’ll need:
- Large mixing or stainless steel bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Elastic band
- Bakers Scale
PRETZEL DOUGH FORMULA
- Bread flour – 1lb 6.1 oz
- Instant yeast – 0.15 oz
- Salt (Kosher or sea salt) – 0.4 oz
- Diastatic malt powder – 0.04 oz
- Butter (Soft) – 1.1 oz
- Water – 11.9 oz
- Add flour, yeast, diastatic malt powder and salt to the mixing bowl and measure water and butter in separate containers.
- Next attach the dough hook and mix on low, add the water first then the butter and mix for approximately 3 minutes or until the dough resembles a shaggy mass.
- Continue to mix the dough on second speed for 5 – 6 minutes – until the dough has developed moderately strong gluten development.
- Cover in plastic wrap (use elastic bands as necessary) leave out at room temperature to bulk ferment for two hours.
FOLDING: 1 fold at 1 hour of bulk fermentation
Grab your dough and a small bowl of water to dip your hands in. Reach under the dough and grabbing a ¼th of the dough stretch and fold it on itself. Repeat this process 3 more times or until the dough tightens up.
DIVIDING & SHAPING:
What you’ll need:
- A dough scraper (plastic metal or even a 8″ stainless steel plaster knife)
- Dusting flour
- Parchment paper
- Baking Tray
- Lay your dough flat onto your work surface and cut the dough in twelve (roughly) equal sections, adding any excess dough chunks from scaling to the top of the dough.
- Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll/shape your dough into blunt cylinders, then shape the pretzels into long 18 inch pieces – thicker in the middle but still cylindrical in shape.
- Pick the dough up by the ends lift it up and twist it twice in the air, then quickly lay the thick part down again.
- While still holding each end of the pretzel take the ends and press them into the dough at each side.
- Cut the parchment paper to fit the size of your baking tray and lightly dust it with flour.
- Place each onto the parchment paper and space them evenly across.
- Let proof for 30 minutes at room temperature and then 30 minutes in the fridge. (The fridge will allow the dough to develop a skin, which is crucial for the next step in the process.
What you’ll need:
- Medium or large size pot
- Baking soda – ¼ cup
- Slotted spoon
- Add 8 cups of water to a large pot, place the pot onto the stove and turn the heat to high.
- Take your pretzels out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 450ºF.
- Once the water is boiling add the baking soda to the pot.
- Using the slotted spoon lift the pretzels one by one into the pot and boil for 15-20 seconds.
- Remove from water solution and place back onto the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt or desired spices
BAKING: 450ºF for 15 – 20 mins.
Once you have made the necessary preparations for the bake – grab your pretzels and grab a lame or razor blade. Score the pretzels on the thickest portion of the pretzels. Place the pretzels in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. After the time is up remove from the oven – while they cool grab some butter and consume with pleasure & delight!
Jessica and I decided to infuse the pretzels with some chili butter before the bake. If you’re looking for a spicy addition to the recipe add 1 tsp of chili puree to 1 tbsp of melted butter and coat your pretzels right after you boil them!
Another succesful recipe done… stay tuned to see what other craving inducing recipes I’ll be sharing next time. Be sure to comment below with any thoughts or suggestions on future recipes! Have an awesome Tuesday!