I have really enjoyed baking bread lately (as evidenced here and here). I love all kind of baking, but going overboard on pies and cookies can feel a little indulgent. On the other hand, I buy bread all the time – so baking it seems more practical than, say, baking a three tier cake.
In a couple of weeks, I will post about the sourdough experiment presently taking place on top of my fridge. For now, let’s talk pretzels.
The last very good pretzel I remember eating was in Munich in 2012.
Incidentally, the last very bad pretzel I remember eating was an Auntie Emme’s pretzel at an airport in America. I can’t remember which one. Maybe Houston. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of it. Auntie Emme’s is like Cinnabon – it smells so good, but it’s a bad, bad idea.
I decided to make my own pretzels for this month’s book club meeting.
As always, the Bread Illustrated cookbook guided me in my quest. (I think I have decided to buy it once the library forces me to return it.) Unlike many other bread recipes, this one does not require 12.5 hours to make (or TWO WEEKS like the sourdough bread!!!!!!!). There’s one step that involves waiting 1 – 1.5 hours and another that requires 15 minutes of rest, but that’s nothing compared to most breads.
I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. As you can see, I have not yet decided on a single pretzel style. I think the big skinny ones look pretty good – maybe I’ll go with that.
I’m pleased to report that they taste really good – like a real, proper pretzel. Maybe not quite as good as a Munich pretzel, but certainly much better than Auntie Emme’s best attempt.
UPDATE: I ended up remaking the pretzels. After they cooled down, I found they tasted kind of oily, then I realized the vegetable oil I’d been using was expired. Ewwww. No wonder the challah I made awhile ago tasted so oily. I was able to make the new batch of pretzels, with unexpired oil, in a more uniform size. I only remembered to take a photo en route to book club, so here they are: