I had the great privilege of eating true Amish soft pretzels in Philadelphia on my last US trip. I also got to watch them being made, and the ease with which they turned from a long piece of dough into a perfect pretzel-knot with just one flick of the wrist was a thing of beauty. Go to Google for a clear instructional video on how to do that. Alternatively you can use the same dough to make fantastic little filled pretzel bites; perfect with drinkies, or as a tasty addition to a grazing table.
These pretzels are delicious with a cheese sauce, my Green Goddess Dressing or Blue Cheese Dressing or, while we’re at it, my Marinara Sauce. Then don’t forget Yellow Mustard; slather it on. Of course, you can eat them hot or cold, but hot, they are seriously amazing, even if I do say so myself.
To prove your bread dough on a cold day, place it into your oven, with the oven light switched on. This is generally around 40°C and is the perfect temperature to help the yeast activate. Alternatively, you can place an insulated serving bowl of boiling water into the bottom of your oven, with the dough on the shelf above. The residual steam and heat will help the rise.
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- 30 Grams Yeast-fresh 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 30 Grams sugar
- 300 Grams water
- 500 Grams bakers or strong flour BUY
- Pinches pink salt flakes BUY
- Large bowl tepid water
- 1 Tablespoon bicarb soda
- Melted butter
- Coarse salt, for garnish
- Grated parmesan
Fillings for pretzel bites:
- 150 Grams chorizo sausage, cut into pieces
- 150 Grams gouda cheese, cubed
- Pickled jalapeños, optional
Place yeast, sugar and water into the Thermomix bowl and warm 2 minutes/37°C/speed 1.
Add flour and salt and blend 6 seconds/ speed 6. Knead 3 minutes/Interval.
Turn out onto floured silicone mat and prove until doubled. This can take up to two hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. (See Tip.)
Preheat oven to 220°C and line a tray with baking paper.
Prepare a large bowl of warm water and stir through the baking soda to dissolve.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a long sausage shape.
Holding each end of the dough, hit the mat a few times to lengthen and even out the dough. Make a large pretzel knot, push joins together and then dip into cooled baking soda water before placing directly onto paper-lined baking tray or heated pizza stone.
Cook for about 8 minutes until golden brown, remove and cool slightly before brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with coarse salt and grated parmesan.
To make pretzel bites:
Make pretzels up to Point 4, as above, then, divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
Roll each piece like a sausage and then flatten.
Place chorizo, cheese and jalapeños, if using, into the mixing bowl and chop 6 seconds/speed 6.
Using damp hands, form small balls with the mixture. Place one ball at the end of one of the flattened dough strips and fold over the end of the dough to encase the filling. Press to seal and cut. Repeat until all of the little ‘bites’ have been formed.
Place the bites into the baking soda water and remove with a slotted spoon. Place directly onto a paper-lined tray.
Cook as directed above.
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