Happy Wednesday guys! Hope you had a good weekend! I had an old friend visiting and we had a blast! We ate good food, drank some wine, wandered around Bristol and chatted till the early hours. It was so nice to reconnect in person again.
As there is a perceptible chill in the air now and evenings are closing in, my comfort food cravings are in full force and vegan pretzels have been on my mind for a while. They are almost impossible to get here so I’ve had to get off my ass and make some myself as they are really quite easy to make. Here is how…
To create the dough, mix flour (I used a mixture of all purpose and bread flour), instant yeast (if using active dry yeast be sure to activate it in water first) and salt with melted fat (I used vegan butter) and lukewarm water. Combine them to from a scraggly dough.
Once the dough is holding together, turn it out on to the work surface and knead by holding the dough in place with one hand and stretching it with the heel of another. Reform the dough and repeat, rotating the dough a little each time to make sure you stretch it in different directions. Carry on kneading for about 10 minutes. You can also use a machine if you have one.
Once the dough is elastic and smooth, put it in a clean bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place somewhere warm. The beauty about pretzels is that you almost don’t have to proof them at all if you are in a rush – they will be skinnier and not as fluffy inside. For fluffier pretzels, allow the dough to double in size. This will take – depending on the temperature – about 60-90 minutes. You may find it helpful to take a photo of the dough ball at the start so that you can be sure when it has risen enough.
Punch the air out of the dough and divide it into 8 equal portions, each portion weighing approximately 100 g / 3½ oz. Roll each portion of the dough into a long (60 cm / 24″) snake. You can make it shorter – that’s not a problem – but your pretzels will look more like knotted buns.
To shape the snake into a pretzel, arrange it into a U shape in front of you.Next, place one strand on top of the other…
Then twist the two strands around each other once and fold the top half over the bottom half to create a pretzel shape. Press the ends of the stands into the dough underneath to make sure they don’t come undone during simmering.
Prepare baking soda bath – it’s what gives pretzels their beautiful colour, crispy crust and satisfyingly chewy interior – by combining water and baking soda in a medium size pot. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer – ideally you want small bubbles as big ones will misshape the pretzels. Gently lower one pretzel into the water at a time and simmer it gently for no more than 60 seconds – spoon the mixture over the pretzel to make sure the top also gets bathed in the baking soda solution. Once the time is up, fish the pretzel out carefully and place it on a drying rack to cool off completely.
Sprinkle with flaky salt (or another topping of your choice). Bake and enjoy once they have a chance to cool.
*FLOUR: I like to use a mixture of AP flour and bread flour, but you can make these with 100% of either of these flours – just be aware that the exact amount of water needed may be a little different due to this change as different flours have different absorbency.
*YEAST: make sure you use the right kind of yeast. I used instant yeast (which gets added directly to the flour), but if you have dried active yeast, for example, it will need activating in the liquid (allocated for this recipe) first. Please follow the instructions on the packet.
*FAT: you can reduce the amount to as little as 25 g / 2 tablespoons (the dough will be a little less indulgent but still tasty). If you do that make sure to use a little more water to compensate for lost moisture.
*MUSTARD: I recommend using 50% Dijon and 50% wholegrain mustard. Check that it doesn’t contain honey as some of them do.
My recipe pretzel dough recipe is adapted from this recipe.