When I tried Pretzel for the first time, I was quite skeptical. Two ingredients that are not found in every home are used in real pretzels. One of them is barley malt extract, the other is sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is the material that gives the pretzel the pretzel taste. Many sources say that that aroma could not be obtained without sodium hydroxide, and the baking soda used as an alternative does not work well. That’s why I made my first try so desperately. Since my expectations were low, the result I achieved satisfied me quite well. I got a pretzel that has a very pretzel smell and aroma, its crust was crispy, inside was soft. When the first attempt was so successful, I just validated it in subsequent attempts.
What is Pretzel?
I made such a direct introduction to the subject, but let me intervene and add what I had to say at the beginning. Pretzel or breze is a salty German bun shaped like a knot. It is also known as German bagel. It is made in other German-speaking countries besides Germany. While this pretzel that I gave the recipe is the most basic recipe, there are many types of pretzel from chocolate to almond.
Now let’s go back to where we were. I used molasses for the barley malt extract that I mentioned at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what type of molasses you use. You can use whichever one you have. I used baking soda instead of sodium hydroxide. The purpose of using sodium hydroxide is to make the water alkaline. When used in sufficient quantities, baking soda does this job well. The preparation stages of the pretzel are almost the same as the Izmir gevrek recipe, only the waiting times are different. Pretzel goes into a hot water bath before being baked like gevrek. In addition to molasses, baking soda is used in the hot water bath. Baking soda gives it that familiar pretzel flavor.
Pretzels are soft when they come out of the oven. When you wait a little, that is, when they reach just the temperature to be eaten, they are crispy on the outside and soft inside. When they cool, they soften. When heated, they get crispy again. In other words, you can make the pretzels in advance and keep them waiting and heat and serve them as if they are freshly cooked before serving.
Pretzel dough is a bit harder than traditional yeast dough. It owes this hardness and the consistency obtained to both the flour-water balance and the use of high protein flour. If you want to have the same consistency and make a real pretzel at home, you should definitely use high protein flour.
- 3 cups of strong (high protein) flour,
- 1 cup of water, at room temperature,
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast,
- 1 teaspoon of any kind of molasses,
- 1 tablespoon of butter, at room temperature,
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
- 1.5 liters of water,
- 3 heaped tablespoons of baking soda,
- 1 tablespoon of any kind of molasses.
- 1 tablespoon of butter,
- Coarse salt.
- Take water, molasses, yeast and butter into a large bowl,
- Add the flour little by little and start kneading,
- Add salt in half the flour,
- Add the remaining flour little by little and get a hard dough,
- Take the dough on the counter and knead it for 10 minutes,
- Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll to make balls,
- Cover them and rest for 5 minutes,
- Press the pieces with your hands one by one and roll them into 10 cm diameter round pieces,
- Roll the pieces in the form of a cylinder and cover them and rest for 5 min.,
- Press the cylinders with both hands and move them back and forth, making a thick stick, thick at the middle and thin at the ends,
- Twist the two ends together and fold them inward and put the thick part on the starting points of the opposite and press it with your finger (see the photos),
- Place the pretzels into a baking tray covered with wax paper,
- Put them in the refrigerator and rest for 1 hour,
- Boil the water in a deep pot,
- Add baking soda, one spoon at a time, into it and mix it to melt,
- Add molasses and mix,
- Take the pretzels out of the refrigerator and throw them into boiling water one by one and keep them under water for 30 seconds by pressing them with a colander without crushing
- Again, strain it with a colander and put it back on the tray,
- After bathing all pretzels, apply melted butter on them,
- Make long cuts in their thick parts with a razor blade,
- Sprinkle salt on them,
- Bake in an oven preheated to 230 degrees immediately until the colors turn almost brown.