It’s not really beer, but it’s sort of related, right?
I’ve been talking the big talk about how I’m going to learn to make my own soft pretzels, and yesterday, I did. It took a bit of searching online to try to find some consistency in recipes, and in the end, I borrowed a bit from here and there, as none of them really gave me what I wanted.
I began with a fed sourdough starter – meaning I took it out of the refrigerator and bled it and fed it each day from Tuesday until Friday, on which day, I made a dough from 5.5 cups of flour, the 2 cup starter, and 1 cup of hot water mixed with 2 Tbs of margarine, 3 Tbs of brown sugar, and 2 tsp salt. It made a really stiff dough, and there was a lot left on the counter when I was done. I need to work on getting more of the flour in the dough next time.
I let it rise all day, giving it about 8 hours to rise. I ended up putting it down by our wood stove to give it some more heat, I think at 68F it would have taken all night too.
After rising, I cut the dough into egg-sized balls, which we then rolled out into the standard pretzel shapes. These were boiled in water that had a hefty amount of baking soda added, and I boiled each pretzel for at least 60 seconds (I wanted them really chewy). Be careful when you do this – they like to try to stick to the bottom of the pot. They were then heavily salted, and placed on cookie sheets.
They were then baked at 450F for 30 minutes, approximately. Recipes varied with time, so I checked on them every 10-15 minutes.
They cooled on a rack, and we devoured them with great delight, slathered with mustard.
To sum up:
- 2C fed starter
- 1 C hot water mixed with
- 2 T margarine (or butter)
- 3 T brown sugar
- 2 t salt
- 5.5 C flour
Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds (or more) after floating. Salt, then bake at 450F for 25-30 minutes.