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Pretzels – Covid-1

Pretzels and Beer Happy Hour in Quarantine

Pretzels for our treat at the Zoom Happy Hour with friends this snowy Friday night, and we knew we would need a beer to go with them. We turned to our beer making neighbor, Andrew, who left some malt extract on our porch – needed for the pretzel’s dough – and later a couple of Pale Ales.  We left pretzels on his porch. The beer was great, the pretzels delicious with it dipped in a little maple-syrup mustard we have enjoy since Christmas, a present from Michele.

The pretzels rose well and could have had more open space before being placed in the boiling water.  Steuart had been worried that they hadn’t risen sufficiently after several hours of proving, but the finished product was a good texture.  He wants to improve them – strive for more soft and airy. I think they lacked a little of the taste you expect in a pretzel and think we need more malt extract or a combo of that and molasses. Or?

Our neighbor also left us a Blonde Ale that he said wasn’t quite ready and he said he was nervous that it would ever be properly carbonated.  When we open this, in a few days, we’ll know. And will also have some sprouted barley with which we can make our own malt extract.  If the beer is flat it might be a good substitute for some of the milk.

Modified from Paul Hollywood’s Pretzel Recipe from the British Bake Off Masterclass series, Steuart used only the savory version and added minced garlic to half the batch.  Mix the dough as you would for any bread but leave it a little sticky; don’t need in extra flour.

After the dough has doubled in bulk, divide into twelve pieces and form the pretzels as shown: roll into thick-middled rope, and then pretzel. Use this image and your experience with eating pretzels to figure out how to get this shape instead of doing your daily sudoku.  Or search on youTube is you really have no problem solving skills or some where to be. We don’t. We’re sheltering at home in the first era of Coronavirus. Luckily we have 50 lbs. of flour in the garage.

After forming the pretzel shape seal the ends to the round with a little water. Cook in a deep pot of boiling water in which the bicarbonate has been added. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt (and/or garlic) and bake in 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients

For the dough:
  • 500g strong white bread flour (we used normal gluten white)
  • 10g salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast (we used Dr. Oekter)
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon malt extract (borrowed from the neighbor who makes beer)
  • 280ml milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
For cooking:
  • 7 litres water
  • 21g bicarbonate of soda
To finish:
  • 20g rock salt

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