ah, the pretzel. Sister to the bagel. It's chewiness and softness pervading our mouths as we are hit with a sudden spike of salt...to fade away with a another sweet bite of dough. After one of my instagram friends commented on how similar the bagel and pretzel are, I knew I had to give pretzels a try. Also, my mom was prodding me in that direction, with her pleas for "big, salty pretzels" like the ones she used to eat in New York. So I gave in.
I got this recipe from another one of my favorite food websites, allrecipes.com. The recipe is called, "Buttery Soft Pretzels", and that they were. The process for making pretzels is a very slight difference from making bagels. Also- this recipe only requires one rising instead of two! Amen! After allowing the bread dough to rise, I rolled and shaped the pretzels after looking up an article on how to shape a pretzel by Kitchn. It was fun, kind of like watching those ladies at the mall at the Auntie Annie's stand flip and slap the dough on the large white counters. I found the dough to be nice and pliable, except I kept rolling them out because I didn't want my pretzels to be too small and stubby. I wanted the holes to show, so I knew I had to roll them out pretty long in order to achieve that. Before baking, I dipped them in hot water that had baking soda dissolved into it, and then put them on the baking tray. I didn't have to boil them for a minute like I did with the bagels. Interesting...I wonder what effect the baking soda has on the flavor and texture of pretzels...maybe it was more to do with flavor. If you have any ideas, let me know!
I think I might've overdone it on the kosher salt, a little bit. Some of our family friends loved it as it was, but my mom and I agreed that it was just a tad bit too salty. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of kosher salt sprinkled on top, which is kind of crazy, so I'm glad I didn't follow the recipe for that. I just gave them a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Kosher salt, btw is great! It's more salty and flavorful than regular iodine salt, and is also better for pickling. Kosher salt is now my go-to salt for cooking. So- this whole process just took about 2 hours, so no excuses people! If you want to make pretzels, set aside some time to do so. You certainly won't regret it ;
Best wishes from my kitchen to yours,
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