Next time you feel like baking, try this recipe for homemade pretzels. Don't be put off by the look of these salty, golden plaits, they are super easy to create and make a great movie-night snack.
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 5½ cups bread flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- olive oil spray, for greasing
- 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- seeded mustard or dijonnaise, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 1-1½ hours
Place the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer that can use a dough hook. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then sprinkle over the yeast. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes or until the yeast begins to foam. This is the yeast activating and beginning to work.
Place the bowl onto the mixer and add the flour and salt. Mix on a low speed until the flour is combined. Turn up to a medium speed and knead with the mixer for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy.
Lightly grease a large mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough over or lightly spray it with more oil spray so that the surface of the dough is lightly covered with oil. Place the tea towel over the bowl and allow to stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. A sunny window sill is always good or if it’s a cold, grey day fill your sink with hot water and place the bowl on a cooling rack over the water and cover completely with a towel.
Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it in to 16 even pieces. I find the easiest way to do this is to weigh the whole dough and divide by 16, then you can weigh each piece and you will end up with pretzels all the same size, cover with a tea towel to prevent drying out.
Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place a large, deep-sided frying pan over low heat and pour in water to come approximately 4 cm up the side. Add the bicarbonate of soda and bring to a slow simmer.
Roll each ball of dough into a sausage shape approximately 45-50 cm long. To do this, start in the centre and roll the sausage backwards and forwards at the same time you are stretching the dough outwards. Once it reaches the correct length, bring the two ends of the dough around towards you and cross them over each other twice. Then flip the twist and the two ends back onto the curve of the dough to create a pretzel shape. Working with a few pretzels at a time, poach them in the simmering water for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Lightly beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the Himalayan salt and caraway seeds. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm from the oven with a bowl of mustard or dijionnaise, for dipping.
Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.