Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pretzels are easy to make

I haven’t shared a ‘play’ post for while here. But make no mistake that our days have been packed to the brim with play. We make it our everyday business around here.

Here’s one of our favourite books we’re currently reading:

Walter the Baker
by Eric Carle
(who also wrote the very popular children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar which I mentioned in this play post)

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It’s a fun and engaging story about the invention of the pretzel. Not a historical true account of events. It was simply retelling of a familiar tale the author heard as a child.

And the main lesson of the story I believe was about persevering through challenges.

Even seemingly impossible ones.

In the story, to avoid banishment our dear baker, Walter had to…

“Invent a roll through which the rising sun can shine three times
It must be made from one piece of dough
and most of all, it must taste good!”

After working all day and into the night, dear Walter finally did it (with some support from his loving family).

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At the end of the story, Nathan asked “Can we make pretzels just like the one in the story?” . I usually make it a point to try to find away to say ‘yes’ before I say ‘no’. So I said “Sure, why not?”.

The basic recipe for pretzels was surprisingly easier than I had expected. I highly recommend this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Everyone got their hands stuck in the action. Mixing. Kneading. Rolling. Twisting.

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Into the oven and out in less than ten minutes.

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Just in time for morning tea.

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We still had some pretzel dough leftover. So after twisting those up into pretzel shapes, I decided to try out the optional step of dunking them into a baking soda bath before popping them into the oven. This dunking step supposedly gives the pretzels their signature golden brown colour and classic pretzel taste.

This is what the pretzels with the baking soda wash looked like after baking.

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30 minute soft pretzels
(Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cup warm water
2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups plain flour (plus extra for kneading)
1 egg
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Mix yeast in warm water. Add salt and sugar. Gradually add in 3 cups of flour. Mix ingredients together until well combined and thick. Add remaining 3/4 cup up to 1 cup flour until dough is no longer sticky. Press dough lightly with finger. If it springs back upon touch, you can begin kneading.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Divide the dough into 1/3 cup sections (or whatever your preference is if you prefer them smaller or larger in size).

Roll the dough out into a long even strip. To twist the dough into a pretzel shape, take the ends of the dough and hold them up into a ‘U’ shape. Cross the strips over each other then bring them forward and press them down into a pretzel shape.

Beat the egg and pour into a wide shallow bowl. Dunk the pretzel into the egg wash on both sides and placed onto a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with some coarse salt.

Bake in a 200 degrees Celsius oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they bake fairly quickly depending on your oven or the size of your pretzels. You can leave them in slightly longer for a more golden, crisp top.

Enjoy!

(You can refer to Sally’s recipe for the optional baking soda bath step after shaping them to try out the effect of this step on producing the classic pretzel flavour and texture)

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipe. I may try this one out with the kids when I have the time ;)

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  2. Looks yummy. Mum would surely want to try making this

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