You know there are some things in life that you hate or you love… Among all of these things, you can find that unique flavor which is a mix of bitter + salty + burnt + impossible to define typical of Bretzles isn’t it?
Usually thrown out at parties as a snack or finger food, industrial bretzles can be found in any supermarket. But you know that taste is a chemical reaction between the dough and caustic soda, in which rised bretzles are dipped in before to be baked? When Using caustic soda you must be very careful! This solution, though, is diluted to a 30% so you will be safe, but always use common sense!
There are numerous unreliable accounts regarding the origin of pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most assume that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by European monks. According to legend, as cited by several sources, including The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, in 610 AD “… an italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, ‘pretiola’ (‘little reward’).
Today, I wanna show you the procedure to follow to be able to make your bretzles at home:
INGRIDIENTS (to make 8 Bretzels)
500 g flour
250 ml warm water
25 g fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
30 g vegan butter
To make the caustic soda solution (be VERY careful)
1 liter water
30 g caustic soda
Dissolve the yeast in 50 ml of warm aater with a tsp of sugar. Let to rest in a waem place till a thick layer of foam forms on the surface. Now using a kneading machine mix the flour with water, yeast and salt. After a few minutes add the vegan butter. Work for about 10 minutes at medium speed and take the dough out. Let to rise for 1 hour or so then divide the dough in 8 parts. Oll out a 60 cm cilinder shape qoth hands keeping the central part thicker than the ends. Give the typical bretzel shape and leave to rise for 20 minutes. Put in the fridge for 1 hour (a thin crust will form on the surface). Now being VERY careful, in a steel continer (such as a cooking pot) dissolve the caustic soda in water using a steel spoon then dip in the bretzel from the fridge for around 10 seconds each. Using a slotted spoon take them out and layer them on a baking paper sheet sprinkling coarse salt on top and make a cut on the thickest part of the bretzel. Bake at 200C for around 20/25 minutes.
I love to dip them in chocolate and eat them straight away because that typical taste is a perfect combo with the bitterness of dark chocolate. Remember you can store your bretzles for 3 days in a bag or container to prevent the air to make them too dry. You can also freeze them so they will last longer.
Since I was young I approached to a plant-based diet for healty reasons, realizing soon that what we eat can really make a difference. Being aware of this, I started a personal research by attending nutrition courses, and being passionated about the art of cooking, i decided to move to London to work in the best raw vegan restaurants of the city. After a few years, I came back to Italy to raise awareness there by spreading healthy eating and lifestyle knowledge, organising and taking part in events and meetings.