flour friday: pretzels!

we had to skip flour friday last week because i was in chicago with my family, but this week we amped it up a notch.  there’s a lot of waiting involved in baking bready things, so we decided to turn that wait-time into art-time.  this week molly and amy joined juli and i for the first artbake.  we made rye pretzels and painted/embroidered/cut/built.  amy even brought a loom and showed us all  how to weave (though i’m positive i couldn’t replicate it).

the pretzels were absolutely delicious.  the process is a lot like bagel-making, but somehow less time-consuming and definitely a much better result.  (maybe we followed the wrong bagel recipe…)  i discovered that the quintesential “pretzel” flavor that sets them apart is actually baking soda in the water when you poach them.  i wondered what the baking soda’s purpose was, but as soon as i bit into the finished product it was quite clear.  now you’ll taste it next time you have a pretzel, too.  try.

i let alma loose with the camera again, too.

recipe: rye pretzels

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 c  dark rye flour
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for serving
1/2 c baking soda
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

  1. in a large bowl combine 1½ cups lukewarm water, yeast and honey
  2. add the kosher salt, rye flour, & 2¾ cups all-purpose
  3. knead dough 12-15 min on lightly floured surface until the dough is soft and smooth and not sticky
  4. clean bowl and lightly brush it with butter.  shape the dough into a ball, seam side down place in bowl
  5. cover with plastic wrap or towel; let rise for 90 min in a warm place
  6. brush two parchment-lined baking sheets with butter
  7. punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured surface – cut into 12 pieces
  8. with your hands, roll one piece into a snake with thinly tapered ends, about 16 inches long.  form snake into a pretzel shape
  9. placing two racks in and above the center of the oven, preheat oven to 450 degrees while letting the pretzels rest 15 to 20 minutes
  10. bring 10 cups water to a boil in a large pot. when the pretzels are ready, stir the baking soda into the boiling water. (Note: if you double the recipe, make a fresh pot of the baking-soda wash for each batch.) gently lift 2 or 3 pretzels, depending on the surface area of your pot, and slide them into the bath. poach for 30 seconds on each side. transfer the pretzels to a kitchen-towel-lined sheet tray to drain, then return them to the prepared baking sheets. sprinkle freely with sea salt
  11. bake for 14 to 18 minutes, turning the trays halfway through, until golden brown

2 Responses to “flour friday: pretzels!”

  1. 1 Christy February 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I am very impressed with all the baking you all do! I wish I would take the time to try some new things!!

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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