What a happy rainy day activity - I had one very eager young helper today, rolling out the pretzel dough and shaping into all manner of letters, numbers, triangles, and circles to her heart's content..we used a modified recipe from Farm Mama's blog. If you don't know this blog yet, check out the gorgeous photos of the farm, her goats, her wool, the greenhouses, hens and more. They are about a month ahead of us in growing season, so it's always inspiring to see what she is harvesting and transplanting.
Our pretzel recipe was made with local organic unbleached spelt flour, and we made half the recipe filled with pesto, carmelized onion, and cheese, rolled into buns much like cinnamon rolls. The other half was made, as mentioned, into shapes of varying pretzel-like styles, dipped in the baking soda wash (which gives pretzels their characteristic flavour) and topped with coarse sea salt. Pretzels can also be brushed with an egg wash to get a glossy golden top. Next time I make these I am going to bake them in our cob oven - it would lend the perfect smokey flavour and would bake incredibly quickly in there.
5 cups unbleached spelt flour
4 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking soda
so many options...pesto, carmelized onion, feta, other cheese, sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, sea salt, coarse black pepper, mushrooms, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, roasted garlic, or anything else you would prefer in a savoury bun
* this same dough could also be made as a sweet roll, using butter, cinnamon, cardamom, maple syrup, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, lemon rind, etc
1) Dissolve the yeast in sugar and warm water. Let stand 5-10 minutes until foamy.
2) Meanwhile mix flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in large bowl. Add yeast mixture.
3) Knead well on floured table, about 10 minutes until dough is smooth but still slightly tacky.
4) Let rise in warm place, in lightly oiled bowl, covered for about 1-2 hours or until double in bulk.
5) Make desired filling while dough is rising.
6) Preheat oven to 450F.
7) Roll out dough into large rectangle. Spread filling evenly to all edges. Roll up lenghtwise like a log, rolling tightly and pressing down the edges to seal. Cut into 14 slices.
8) Or, shape pretzel shapes (or letters, numbers, designs, etc) by rolling dough into 24 inch long "ropes".
9) Dip the pretzels into baking soda water bath (1/2 cup baking soda in 4 cups hot water), then sprinkle with coarse salt or sesame seeds.
10) Place on oiled baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes.