01 December 2011

Pretzels, redux

As mentioned in this post, I made pretzels. A friend of mine (called GrauFrau) from an online cooking forum had a couple of comments:

Finally had time to try this! A few notes: The recipe is great. Smell, taste, and texture are perfect. However, I made one significant prep error. I should have rolled out the pretzels HALF as thick as I wanted them to be when finished. They looked nice until I dropped them in the solution, at which point they bloated up like crazy. So they look ugly, but that's ok - they taste wonderful!

The solution I used for dipping was close to 4 tbsp of the baked baking soda (Na2CO3) in the liter of boiling water. The dough floated almost immediately, and I kept each one in for 30 seconds. I baked them at 425F and turned them at 14 minutes, saw they were getting a bit too dark, and pulled them 5 minutes later. Next time I might try 400F and look at them at the 10-minute mark. Oh, and in case anyone doubts the necessity of the soda dip - see that hideous albino pretzel in the low left corner? I didn't dip him, just to see what he'd look like. He was baked right along with everyone else. I suppose it's still edible, but ew.

Anyway, definitely a great recipe. I'll be doing lots with this one. Now I can make my own pretzel rolls!

So, to review: roll them thinner than you think you'll want them, and you'll be in good shape. Thanks for the awesome picture, and for the tips! The baked baking soda she refers to is 1 lb of sodium bicarbonate, baked in the oven at 350 for an hour. If you'd like to do this too, use the opportunity to bake off some potatoes, butternut squash, roast some peppers, whatever. No sense in using up all that heat for one thing. It makes the baking soda stronger, and gives the pretzels a darker colour, like GrauFrau's came out. I can't be bothered to go through the extra step, and will continue to just do them the regular way, but if you're feeling like you want that good strong dark pretzel colour, give the whole baking the bicarbonate of soda thing a shot.

Thank you especially for doing one without the soda dip, so that everyone can see how important it is to follow every step.