Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Kind of Pretzels - on the Hard Side

Ok, so since I posted about the soft pretzels, it's only fair to also post about the hard ones.
The recipe is one I've had for a very long time and which I loved to play around with.
By the time I was at the stage where you're supposed to put the pretzels in the oven, my kitchen was full of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, egg wash and water ! What a mess !
But OH, what a fun time I had every time with my sister !
So now I cook and bake by myself as my husband is not so much into the kitchen stuff.
Unless that involves burgers, scrambled eggs, beef jerky and some other good stuff only he knows how to make.
Ok enough talk, here's the recipe:
1 kg all purpose flour
250 gr margarine or spread (you can even use butter, although I never tried it with butter myself)
1 packet of instant yeast (7 grames)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
200 ml warm milk (you can use water if you don't have milk)
1 egg for the dough
1 egg for the egg wash
poppy seeds
sesame seeds
kosher salt

Fill half of a soup pot with water and bring it to a boil.
Use the above ingredients to make a dough which you can knead by hand for at least 10 minutes or in the bread machine on the dough cycle.
Amazingly, they do NOT need to proof, rise or rest.
You knead the dough, you then divide it into 30 equal pieces and start the pretzels shaping process.
Each dough ball will need to be shaped into a 12-14 inch rope which you will tuck and lock to make sure the pretzel will not break.
After you formed all 30 pretzels, carefully drop 1 to 3 of them into the boiling water and once they lift at the surface, carefully turn them on the other side (flip them) using a flat sieve or a wide spatula.
This will take approx. 30 seconds for each side.
Make sure you have a baking sheet or a few wide plates on hand which you can use to lay the pretzels once they have "boiled".
When you have them all resting, turn them on the other side.
Preheat the oven to 425 F and make sure you have 2 racks in the oven.
Now you will need to use the egg wash to brush each and every one of them making sure you sprinkle the salt/poppy seeds/ sesame seeds immediately after brushing so that everything sticks to them.
Now carefully take each plate close to the stove and put the pretzels on the racks.
They will need to bake approx. 10 minutes on each side, until they turn golden brown and delicious.
I like mine more on the crunchy side, so I keep mine for 30 minutes in the oven.
Be sure to keep and eye on them.
Let cool off a little and enjoy !

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