This is how to make the perfect pretzel at home


One of the common questions I have in workshops is what is the difference between pretzels and pretzels. Of course there is a difference, first of all in the shape – the pretzel is originally round and the classic pretzel has its own characteristic shape – but the process of their preparation is also different: the pretzel is cooked in boiling water with baking soda and only then baked in the oven, and the pretzel is just baked.

When I tried to trace the origins of the pretzel, I discovered an intriguing explanation for the shape of the fire – some claim that the pretzel was first prepared by monks, and that its shape is not accidental but mimics the movement of praying hands. I admit he is a genius!

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Fat monks, in our case | Photo: Nufar Tzur, good food

Like many other pastries – such as challah, baguettes, etc. – homemade biscuits are a hit today, mainly because the pastry came with the name complex pastries, which is simply not true. Even forming a shape, which may seem complicated, takes a second and a half.

Industrial pretzels are cooked before baking in boiling water with caustic soda, a substance that is not usually used in the home kitchen, so pre-baked pretzels are cooked in boiling water with baking soda powder. Because of this difference, the pastries sold abroad are slightly different from those made on their own, and their crust is more crispy, but do not worry: even at home you can achieve a wonderful result, which will make everyone admire you.

Today it is customary to make many types of pastries from pretzel dough, such as pretzels, stuffed pastries, sweet pastries and pastries from different types of flour. They are all very tasty to me, but the most fun in my eyes is making the classic version, and serving it hot with beer, a small tray of cheese, and some spreads and vegetables.

Pretzel - served with veggies and a few spreads (Photo: Nuvar Tzur, Good Food)
Serve with vegetables and some spreads | Photo: Nufar Tzur, good food

dough

Pretzel dough contains very little fat. Americans really like to add butter to the dough, and I don’t really do that. Its rise times are different and shorter than you might be accustomed to, because unlike other pastries, the pastry is originally a dense, not airy, pastry.

I know a lot of ways to work with pretzel dough – sometimes without puffs at all, sometimes with short puffs, sometimes with puffs too. What is nice is that among all the options, the really tasty biscuits come out.

the design

After lifting, cut out pieces of dough and form long, thin snakes. If you want large, thin pastries, with huge holes, you have to roll the dough balls with a rotating screw, which I do not always have time to do. This causes a maximum of air to come out of the dough, so it is easier to shape it and keep the holes empty: roll each ball into a thin strip and roll it into the shape of a snake.

A little tip about what a pretzel will look like: if you don’t get a perfect design, don’t take it hard, usually after cooking and baking everything works out and everyone comes out beautiful, even those you thought looked like aliens. And here too, like everything else in life, the more pastries you make in your life, the more beautiful it becomes.

Cooking

After decorating and before baking, pretzels are briefly cooked in water with baking soda (each recipe requires a slightly different amount) and sometimes honey or sesame. The sweet addition is supposed to deepen the color and lessen the effect on the taste, and between us – even if you don’t add anything, the pretzels will turn brown and delicious.

How long do you cook? About 10 seconds on each side, the fact is that it is also possible not to turn the pretzel in the water because when it is in the pot, it is already boiling from all directions. I like to use the perforated spoon to insert and remove the pretzels. There are Mahadrins who tend to freeze biscuits a bit before cooking them in water so their shape won’t be damaged, but who among us has time for that?

When the pastry comes out of the water, sprinkle it with coarse salt, sesame, or poppy seeds. At this point, they have a sticky texture (sorry for the connotation, but to me it reminds us of a flawless texture) but don’t worry – after baking they turn brown, slightly crispy and luscious.

The following recipe is a basic recipe. You can play with the types of flour (in my experience, with whole grain a bomb comes out), you can open each ball and fill it with yellow cheese, roll it and close it in the form of bread and you can also make rolls – the so-called Marco Rolls named after the star of “Heart” – a cartoon series from the 80s , where composed coils (with deep grooves on top) made an entire generation hungry.

Single salted piece (Photo: Nuvar Tzur, Good Food)
How is it salted | Photo: Nufar Tzur, good food

Classic Pretzel

Ingredients (about 15 pieces of pretzel):

For the dough:
1 pound of bread flour
A tablespoon and a half of dry yeast
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
tablespoon fine salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2-2 and a half cups of tap water

For cooking pastries:
water
3 tablespoons honey/sesame
2 tablespoons of baking soda

Pretzel in a skillet (Photo: Nuvar Tzur, Good Food)
Brothers in the form | Photo: Nufar Tzur, good food

to prepare:

Put all the ingredients for the dough into a mixer until you get a homogeneous and elastic dough – start with a cup and a half of water and add as needed. Put another 10 minutes, cover the dough and let the dough rest for only an hour (from the experience, up to half an hour is enough).

Divide the dough into balls of 110 grams each and leave for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and put baking paper in the pan.

4. Heat the water in a large saucepan over high heat. When the water boils add honey or sesame seeds and baking soda powder and reduce the flame to medium-high.

5. In the meantime, form a long, thin snake from each ball and shape it into a piece of candy (watch the video). Arrange them on a work surface (it should be slightly floured).

6. Cook the pastries (3-4 at a time) in boiling water for 10 seconds on each side, then remove and transfer to a frying pan. Decorate with salt and make a groove in the wide part with a very sharp knife (if you are making in rolls, then the grooves are more important).

7. Bake the pastries for 20-25 minutes, until browned.

8. Eat hot and fresh, so the pastries are at their best.

** You can freeze the pastries while they are very fresh and before serving, heat them at 150 degrees for 1 hour (straight from the freezer). It came out like new.

>> This is the recipe for Marco’s stuffed rolls

>> Here’s the recipe for long pretzel rolls

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