Some of my greatest triumphs in college started with a professor getting mad at me. Exhibit A: Pasta al Pomodoro. Exhibit B: Pretzels.
I had already made pretzels in Baking 100. Its the first assignment my class was given. Oh how I felt like a lost little puppy on that first day in the kitchen. But I managed to make fantastic pretzels, and after all was said and done, it was incredibly easy. Plus, pretzels don’t need to raise at all, which is key in this story.
Fast forward to my capstone Culinary Arts class. We had to open a little cafe. (Think Panera on a small college class level. We actually did sell the same soup from the same company thawed from the same plastic bag and everything.) Everyone in my class was required to make different sandwiches to sell, whenever we had time. I got done with my assignments early and decided to make an open face sandwich with a friend. So we went to my professor to ask for some bread. He got all red in the face and went totally Hell’s Kitchen on us. He yelled for the entire class to hear that we didn’t order any bread to be picked up at the store so we couldn’t have any. Whoops.
Remembering the pretzels from Baking 100 and how fast and easy they were to make, we set out to make our own pretzel rolls. We made some pretzel dough, rolled it in a knot, and baked it. In less than 30 minutes we finished our sandwiches.
When my friend and I brought our sandwich to our teacher his cheeks turned pinkish again and he asked where we found the bread. We told him we made it and he gave us a nod of approval. “That’s dedication.” Yes, yes it is. I could have gone home early from class, crying and quivering from the wrath of my tyrannical professor. But no. I stayed. I made those pretzel rolls. I conquered the open face sandwich with out store bought bread.
I want you to conquer the pretzel too.
Start by dissolving yeast in 1/3 cup water.
Take the two ends of the dough and fold them down.
In a flat dish, such as a pie tin add 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Dissolve the baking soda. Dip the pretzels on each side into the water. This should be a very, very quick dip. Less than a second on each side.
Place the pretzels on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I’d normally say you could get away with a greased cookie sheet, but that’s not the case with pretzels. You really need parchment paper for this. Brush the pretzels with melted butter.
Bake at 500 for 8-10 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. When the pretzels are warm, brush them with melted butter once more and sprinkle Parmesan cheese and parsley over the top. You can do classic pretzels with kosher salt or something sweet with cinnamon sugar. Whatever you are in the mood for!
- 1 1/3 cup water (divided)
- 1 Tbsp. yeast
- 3 1/2 cup All purpose flour (divided)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- melted butter
- Kosher salt, parmesan cheese, parsley, or cinnamon sugar
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.
- In a mixing bowl, pour 1 cup water, flour, salt, and sugar. Add dissolved yeast and knead dough. Add in extra flour a little bit at a time, if needed, until the dough is smooth and not sticky anymore.
- In a flat dish, such as a pie tin, pour 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Dissolve the baking soda and set aside.
- Pull off a piece of dough (a big handful) and roll into a long strip, then shape into a pretzel.
- Dip your pretzel in the water and baking soda quickly, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 500 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Once you take the pretzels out of the oven, bush them with melted butter and add the toppings of your choice