Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Pretzel Day!

Today is National Pretzel Day. Ever since I traveled to Munich for Oktoberfest, I've been obsessed with Bavarian soft pretzels. In Germany, they are huge and crusty and delicious! Perfect to soak up all the beer.

Me and Carrie with a pretzel the size of our heads!

I've had a hard time finding anything that even comes close to Bavarian pretzels in the US, so I've had to make my own. I was never pleased with my results, until I found this book: Pretzel Making at Home. 

I even got to meet the author and watch her shape pretzels at a book signing. I immediately ran home and tried to make my own. It turns out, to make super authentic pretzels with a brown crust, you need food grade lye. There's simply no other way to get the same results any other way. For those of us who cant find or don't want to use lye, the book offers a decent substitute: baked baking soda.

To make soft pretzels, after making the dough and shaping it, you boil the twists in the lye solution for a minute before baking them. That develops the crust.

You can top them with whatever you want, salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, herbs, cheese, cinnamon, whatever! I prefer savory pretzels. With spicy mustard. Or hot cheese sauce. Yummmmmm.

So anytime I have an uncontrollable desire for a Bavarian pretzel, I can either fly to Munich or make them myself at home. Either way, pretzels are a delicious anytime treat. Happy Pretzel Day!

John and Carrie devouring a pretzel after many beers

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