Homemade pretzels entered my life when my in-laws gifted me a class at the King Arthur Baking School, at the Bread Lab in Skagit Valley. When it was time to decide which exact class, the choice to enroll in the pretzel making course was a no–brainer. The hands–on experience was fun and informative, but best of all it made me realize that making pretzels at home was not only doable, but a must!
Once you’ve tasted soft pretzels straight from your own oven there is no going back. With Oktoberfest upon us, what better way to celebrate than with homemade German-style pretzels? My favorite soft pretzel recipe comes from King Arthur and it pairs perfectly with Kerrygold’s Best-Ever Beer Cheese Sauce.
Making pretzels at home can be intimidating, but here are some tips and things to consider on your journey to pretzeltopia:
- Give yourself time. Pretzels aren’t necessarily hard to make, but there is a process to follow. Be sure to pick a day where you can set aside the time allotted in the recipe.
- Don’t be tempted to sub for all-purpose flour. Bread flour is higher in protein, resulting in the chewy texture we all expect from our soft pretzels.
- Diastatic malt powder is an optional ingredient, but one worth including. When added to your pretzel dough, this sprouted grain–based powder boosts yeast growth and enhances the golden color of the crust.
- When rolling the dough into ropes, friction between the dough and the rolling surface is key. If you’re having difficulty getting your ropes to elongate, slightly dampen your rolling surface with cold water to increase friction — a spray bottle works well for this. Do not introduce flour.
- The alkaline water bath step may seem daunting, but don’t skip it. The quick dip will set the shape, provide that signature pretzel crust, and allow for a deeper color once baked.
- If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, do not add salt prior to baking. Instead, after removing from the oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
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