Any yeast dough baking is about home and childhood for me. Statisticaly our moms and nans used to boil potatoes much more often then buns, but it’s buns what I remember. Today when I bake, my thoughts go back to sweet and cosy childhood near the warm oven. Also I create the very same image of comfort and home for my kids. It’s pure happiness to see them jumbling around the oven, spying through the glass and shouting “Hooray! Buns!”
Today’s recipe is not just buns, but “the buns through which you can see the sun three times” – this particular criteria should had have been met according to the legend of inventing pretzels. Pretzels can be sweet or salty.
There’s another legend telling how pretzels became salty. It tells about a young baker’s apprentice, who by mistake soaked the pretzels in soda solution instead of sweet syrup. The pretzels turned out dark brown, with a dense crust, soft and delicious inside.
They are really easy to make. Nothing harder then regular buns, but you may want to have a large slotted spoon or a wide spatula to help you soak pretzels in boiling water.
(makes 8-10 pretzels, cooking time 2 h, hands on 45 minutes)
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
3 tbsp (50 g) sugar
1 tsp (4 g) salt
1/4 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (11 g) active dry yeast
3 cups (440 g) white bread flour
For soda solution:
1,5 l water
1 egg white
Sea salt flakes to taste
Mix water with sugar, salt and oil with a whisk. While oil didn’t form a solid layer on top – add yeast and mix thoroughly. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Add flour and mix to form a soft but not sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a lid and leave for 10 minutes to let gluten form. After 10 minutes knead the dough in 5-8 quick moves and leave covered for 10 more minutes. Repeat the quick knead and cover the bowl and transfer it into the warm oven (about 45°С). Let the dough rise for 20-25 minutes, it should double in volume.
Divide the dough into 8 or 10 equal parts. Roll each part to form a thin rope and shape a pretzel by twisting the rope twice and sticking the ends to the loop formed. Cover with cling film, leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile boil a pan of water, reduce the heat to simmering and add baking soda. Lower the pretzels into the simmering solution one at a time. Simmer for 25 seconds on each side then transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake at 180°С for 16-20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.