I don’t know about you but when I’m traipsing through a shopping centre I always walk a little slower past the Mr. Pretzels stand, hoping they will start offering tasters. That smell of warm bread and cinnamon as the staff swing ropes of dough in the air like gymnasts puts me in a trance.
So when my cousin got engaged and a Bavarian theme was decided for her Hen Do I got really excited.
The perfect texture for a soft pretzel is crisp on the outside, soft and chewy in the inside. Pretzels, like bagels, are steamed in bicarbonate of soda before baking which creates a firm crust and keeps a fluffy middle!
I referred to a wonderful recipe from thingswebake.co.uk, for tips and picture demonstrations. My version is an adaptation of this recipe:
My own Mini Cinnamon Pretzels are lovely and spiced, bite-sized, with a chocolate dipping sauce to dunk them into. I have upped the cinnamon and sugar so they are even more like those classic shopping centre pretzels!
For the pretzel dough:
- 140g plain flour
- 140g bread flour
- 1/2 packet quick yeast
- 45g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 350ml whole milk, warm
- 50g salted butter, plus extra 50g to brush on top
- 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda, for dipping
For the dipping sauce:
- 250g dark chocolate
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
Mix both flours, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the butter to a microwavable jug with the milk and heat until the butter has melted and all is lukewarm.
Gradually pour in the wet mix into the dry mix a little at a time and mix to form a soft ball of dough. Knead for 10 mins. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove until it has doubled in size, for around 1-2 hours (I take a picture of the dough pre-rise, so I can gauge when it has doubled!)
How to achieve that iconic Pretzel knot
You need a good bit of worktop space and a large, flat, greased baking tray to keep the pretzels on once they are shaped.
Firstly divide your mix into 32 small balls, weighing out each so they are relatively the same size (keep them under a bowl on your work surface to stop them drying out!)
Take one ball of dough and roll it into a long snake shape on the table, around 1cm thick and 20cm long. The dough is very elastic but will retract quickly so you need to work FAST.
The dough puffs up during the bake so make sure the pretzel shape is quite distinctive. Take an end of the snake in each hand and quickly cross your hands so that the dough knots twice and creates a noose. This is a little fiddly so you might want to keep the dough on the table, cross your hands to create one twist then create another with your hands.
Now pull the two ends inside the circle of dough until a pretzel shape is formed and flip them over. Place them carefully on the tray.
Here’s a great video with help shaping your pretzels
Preheat your oven to 180°c.
Dunking the pretzels:
You will need another
- very well oiled baking tray
- flat spatula
- wide saucepan or deep frying pan
- boiled kettle of water
- pastry brush
Fill the saucepan with water and when gently bubbling add the bicarb. Take a pretzel on your spatula and dip it into the water for a couple of seconds, shake off the excess and add onto the second greased baking tray. Do this until all of the pretzels have been dunked.
Bake these in the middle of your oven for around 5 mins, then flip over and bake for 4 mins more, then remove. These should still be pale golden when they are cooked.
Melt the remaining butter and quickly brush onto both sides of your hot pretzels. Mix a few tbsp caster sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a mixing bowl and carefully add your pretzels, give a quick shake so both sides are coated and cover the pretzels to keep them warm.
For the chocolate dip, carefully melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie. Whisk in the cream until the sauce thickens, plonk in the syrup, stir and serve.