When looking through all my blog posts, I noticed something horrific. Apart from when I made Pizza where I had to make the dough from scratch, I’ve never done anything bread related. I decided this week that enough was enough though and quickly put an end to that.
Personally, I thought the pretzels were delicious and I couldn’t fault them. My parents slightly disagreed with me though as they thought the inside of the pretzel was a bit too chewy, which, after having a second one, I tend to agree with. I over kneaded it. I am pretty certain I did it for about 8 minutes, as opposed to the suggested 5.
I recommend eating them the day you make them, because they are way too chewy the next day. This recipe makes 8, so I suggest cutting the recipe in half (unless you have a family of 8 that is!) so you can eat them the same day.
On the upside, the topping was a hit. My Mum likes cinnamon pretzels from Auntie Annes (hyperlink to their website), and I decided to try and make my own version of these. I might need to put a touch more cinnamon in next time, but ½ teaspoon of it worked pretty well, and she enjoyed them.
Anyway, enough talking from me, because you guys want the recipe so that you can make it yourselves!
This recipe is from the Great British Bake Off – Learn to Bake book.
300g strong white bread flour (+ some extra for sprinkling the work surface when kneading)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
7g fast action dried yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
225ml lukewarm milk
1 large egg
Baking tray lined with baking paper
For the topping
2-3 tablespoons coarse sugar crystals or Demerara sugar
30g unsalted butter
(TheBakerKid tip: Apart from if suggested otherwise, always use unsalted butter, because too much salt can result to it being dry and tasting horrible)
Put the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands, and then pour in the lukewarm milk. Use your hands to gently press and squeeze everything together until thoroughly combined to make a smooth soft dough (TheBakerKid tip: If there are some dry crumbs at the bottom, keeping adding 10 ml of milk or water to pick it up. Make sure it’s no more than 10 though because doing it in stages is better than rushing in and then it being too wet. Also if the dough is too wet and is sticking to the bottom of the bowl, again add 10ml of the strong white bread flour at a time to slowly bring it all back together).
Lightly sprinkle the worktop with flour, then take the dough from the bowl and put onto worktop. Knead the dough thoroughly (In case you don’t know how to knead a dough, here is a YouTube clip of Paul Hollywood sharing his technique: Paul Hollywood kneading dough)
You will need to knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until it feels soft, elastic and smooth.
Put the dough into another bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes so the dough can rise.
Turn out the dough onto the worktop again (this time without the sprinkle of flour). Divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into each ball (don’t worry, they don’t have to be neat) then leave on the worktop, uncovered, for 5 minutes
With your hands, roll each ball of dough on the worktop (again not floured) and roll it out into a thin sausage shape, about 45cm long.
To shape each sausage into a pretzel, you need to first bend it into a U shape. Then get one of the ends of the U and put it on top of the base but on the other side (if you’re struggling with this explanation, then I recommend checking out the GBBO book – it has some great photos demonstrating how to do it).
Carefully lift the pretzels onto the lined baking sheets, making sure to set them well apart to allow for growth. Leave uncovered at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water to the egg and beat with the fork for about 20 seconds. Carefully brush this mixture over the pretzel in a thin layer after the 15 minutes is up.
Sprinkle the pretzels with your chosen topping, or leave them plain, then place into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the pretzels are baking, gently melt the butter in the microwave or on the hob. Wash the pastry brush so that you can use it for when the pretzels are finished.
Remove the pretzels from the oven. Straight away, brush each pretzel with the butter. This will help keep the pretzels reasonably soft on the outside. Leave to cool and then they are ready to eat.
Leave a comment below on how you got on with making it yourself.