Every Friday when I meet my boyfriend at Melbourne Central Station before the football, I'm greeted by the smell of freshly baked pretzels from the shop adjacent the entrance. I'm always tempted, but never buy one under my, "I could make that myself" philosophy. I'm a bit of a DIY fiend. If I can make it, I'm not going to pay someone else to do it. Inevitably, I usually end up not remembering to do it by the time I get home, so it was high time I gave these a go.
They're so simple to make, and so addictive straight from the oven. I decided to have a bit of fun and tweaked a basic recipe. For the first, I sprinkled the dough with cinnamon sugar before baking.
For the other half of the batch, I sprinkled half of these with sea salt and the other half with caster sugar. Once baked, I drizzled a little dark chocolate over them. Both versions were nice, though I think I liked the salted variety better.
This half of the dough has dark chocolate chips kneaded through, making them especially delicious right out of the oven with their tiny pockets of melted chocolate.
Whichever way you decide to bake these, they're bound to disappear quickly.
14g dry yeast (2 sachets)
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups of warm (NOT hot or boiling) water
5 cups (625g) plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup baking soda
2 cups hot water
chocolate chips and chocolate for melting, if desired
Desired topping (sea salt, cinnamon sugar, caster sugar, garlic salt, etc)
- Proof your yeast by combining it with the 1 tsp of white sugar and warm water in a bowl and let stand until frothy (5-10 minutes). If yeast does not foam, it means the yeast has died, so begin again with a new batch (if you are having continued problems proofing your yeast, ensure it has not passed its expiration date or that your water is too hot).
- In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup of sugar and salt; make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and oil. Gradually mix the flour into the wet ingredients until well combined. If mixture is dry, add extra tepid water a little at a time until flour is completely incorporated.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then divide into two portions (if making the different varieties). Knead one half for a further 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Repeat for the other half, working in desired amount of chocolate chips as you go. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Preheat oven to 230°C (210°C fan forced/450°F). In a medium bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
- Divide each half of the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Dip into the baking soda solution and place on a greased or lined baking tray. Sprinkle with desired topping.
- Bake for 8 minutes until browned. Drizzle melted chocolate onto the choc-chip variety if desired.
To hear all about the superhero Blue Ear and how a 4-year-old inspired this baking session, or to grab the printable version of this recipe, check out the post at Cakecrumbs.