Recently the hubby and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a weekend away to the Blue Mountains. When I was looking for what was on that weekend I noticed that Oktoberfest was on at The Carrington but neglected to tell my husband about it. It was probably a subconscious thing (well that is what I am going with) as given I don’t drink I didn’t really find the appeal in spending our anniversary with “cheery” people.
It just so happens that we were driving down the main street of Katoomba and the hubby noticed the big tent and his eyes lit up. We parked the car and headed back towards Oktoberfest and joined the queue for a beer. The hubby was happy when he picked up his 1 litre stein of beer and I got my 300ml bottle of water. For an afternoon snack, and to soak up a little bit of the alcohol, we also bought a pretzel. This pretzel then put the idea in the hubby’s head about making our own.
Many months ago I was watching some episodes of Laura in the Kitchen on YouTube and saw her episode on soft pretzels. So when we decided to make our own this was what I went back to.
To start, gather the ingredients being water, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and flour.
Add the water, sugar, salt and yeast to a bowl (can be straight into the bowl of your electric mixer to save washing up) and let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
Place the flour and melted butter into the bowl and mix with the yeast on low until everything is combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 5-10 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth.
Lightly oil a clean bowl and transfer the ball of dough into it. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size.
Turn it dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 portions. Now comes the fun part. Apparently there are a different ways to shape your pretzels and I tried to do this flip and twist kind of maneuver with no success so went for something a little more basic.
Roll the dough out until it is about 40cm long. Make a U shape and then fold each side down to the bottom of the U, crossing them over, and press so the dough holds together.
Now for the interesting part. In order for the pretzels to get that deep golden brown colour, and the distinctive pretzel flavour, prior to baking they need to be dipped in a bath of boiling water and bi-carb soda. If you feel adventurous enough to play with chemicals, you could dip them in lye, but I thought we would just stick with the bi-carb instead.
We boiled the pretzels two at a time and for 1 minute.
Remove the pretzels and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Beat an egg with a little water and brush the pretzel with the egg wash and then sprinkle with salt.
Place in a very hot preheated oven at 230ºC and bake for 10-15 minutes until nice and golden brown.
When cooked, leave to cool before serving. Well, let them a cool a little so you don’t burn yourself eating them, as it is very hard to resist them straight from the oven.
Great to eat on their own, but feel free to dip in mustard or any condiment of your choice.