Pretzels are just one more bread that you can't find in India. Not nice pretzels, anyway. The first time I had a pretzel was about 15 years ago, while sailing to the Catalina Islands near LA, on board the ship. It was warm, soft and smothered with mustard and absolutely delicious.
Pretzels are traditionally German and can be either soft or hard. They have also evolved into a variety of different shapes, but the most popular ones remain the original ... um... pretzel design!
(slightly modified from the ones at DK's Culinary Bazaar. Originally Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.)
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2 1/4 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water
4-5 tbsp chopped Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 cup Warm Water
1 tsp Sugar
3 tbsp melted Butter (for brushing)
Sea Salt/ Jalapenos/ Cheese (all optional)
Combine all the ingredients together for the dough until they come together to form a messy lump. Empty the dough out onto a kneading surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and soft.
Place in a well-oiled container and sprinkle with a little bit of flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea cloth and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240 deg C. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and set aside.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll eat piece out into a rope (about 24" long). Holding both ends of the rope, twist the dough into a circle, bringing the ends in and crossing them over to form a knot. Secure each end on the sides of the pretzel.
Dip each pretzel into the water-sugar solution and set on a baking tray. You can add your toppings at this stage if you'd like. You could add sea salt or grated cheese or garlic - the possibilities are endless. Since I added the chopped jalapenos into the dough, I added just a little bit of sea salt to the top of each pretzel.
Let them rest for 15-20 minutes. Then bake for 8 minutes, rotate the baking tray and bake for an additional 6 minutes. As soon as you take them out of the oven, brush the pretzels with the melted butter. Make sure you use up all that butter!
Check out what my other marathoners are cooking today:
DK, Siri, Srivalli, Ranji, PJ, Curry Leaf, Medha, Priya, Bhawna, Raaji, Ruchii, Kamala, Roopa, Divya Kudua, Rekha, Divya, Lakshmi, Raaga, Lakshmi, Sripriya and Viji.