I wish I could say “there is nothing I enjoy more than a pretzel”, but unfortunately, I love all carbs. What I do enjoy, is a pretzel that is slightly chewy, crisp on the outside, and right out of the oven.
In days past <read, pre-India>, I would walk to my favorite Bavarian store in Pike Place Market, buy a pretzel and eat it on my walk home. But in Chennai, I have yet to chance upon a Bavarian store in walking distance from my home.
Luckily, I have no shortage of German friends, including a very dear grad-school mate from Bavaria. And while I tend towards not sharing any of my own recipes, I happily share those given to me by others’. Note: I’ve produced these successfully in gas, electric and even toaster ovens.
So here it goes: Hannah’s Pretzels
750 g flour
1 package yeast
½ table spoon sugar
2 table spoons salt
2 table spoons baking soda (for the bath)
some flour for the work area
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 100 ml warm water. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
<You can buy yeast at Nilgiris or Amma Nanna in Chennai>
Mix the flour, yeast, and 300 ml warm water and salt. Knead dough for 8 minutes (on surface covered in flour). Place dough in bowl that’s dusted with flour, cover and let sit for one hour.
Cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Divide dough into 20 pieces (though I think last time I made these I divided it into fewer pieces). Shape into pretzels. Place the ‘raw’ Brezn on the baking sheet, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Bring 1.6 l water to a boil. Remove from stove. Carefully add baking soda. Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
individually dip/submerge raw pretzels in the hot baking soda mixture for about 10 seconds. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.