This is really easy and fairly simple recipe for soft cinnamon pretzels. This is the american version (with UK measurements), which is soft and fluffy, unlike the german style traditional hard pretzels.
I got into making pretzels when I tasted the most amazing cinnamon pretzel from a street stall in London. The taste is just so delicious, sweet and slightly chewy. Althought there is a bit of preparation involved, it's pretty easy recipe to make. We normally bake a batch of pretzels on Sunday and it's great fun to bake with children too. This recipe is for cinnamon pretzels, which is the simpliest versions of filling (or toppings if you like), but you can swap it for chocolate, peanut butter or any other topping you fancy.
A friendly word of warning before you start. The recipe calls for dunking the pretzels in a very strong solution of hot water and baking soda. This solution is very strong and has annoying habit of spilling or dripping on a work counter as you work. We have a hard wood kitchen tops and the soda left pretty bad black stains on the wood. To this date, I wasn't able to scrub it or clean it with anything, so just be careful!
A health and safety warning aside, lets get on with the recipe!
Cinnamon Pretzel Recipe
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
25g dark brown muscovado sugar
50g unsalted butter - melted
oil, for greasing
3 table spoons of bicarbonate of soda
Cinnamon and caster sugar mixed together
First of all, put the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and mix together to combine. In a large jug, mix together 300ml lukewarm milk and the butter. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk, mixing together to form a rough dough.
Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins or until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and set aside until doubled in size, about 1hr. You can leave to prove the dough in the fridge over night. It will take about 8 hrs to rise, but it will also improve flavour.
Once risen, knock out the air bubbles in the dough and divide into 8-12 equal pieces, depending on how large you want your pretzels to be. Using your hands, roll each piece into a long rope about 30 cm long. Make sure you stretch the dough from the middle, otherwise the gluten in the dough will fight you back.
To form into pretzels, lay the rope in a U-shape with the curve pointing towards you. Take the two ends and cross them over.
Take the ends, lift them backwards and press them into the curve of the U-shape. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Heat oven to 190C/160C fan/gas 5.
Carefully place the pretzels on a baking tray lined with parchment and lightly greased with oil. Cover lightly with oiled cling film. Set aside for about 20 mins until puffy (but not fully risen like bread dough).
Fill a heatproof bowl with a boiling water and dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in. One at a time, carefully lift the pretzels and dip them in the soda solution. repeat with all and place them back to the baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until a golden brown. Once baked, brush them with some more melted butter and dip them into the cinnamon sugar. Allow to cool on a wire rack and serve with your best coffee!
As ever, I love to know how you got on with this recipe, so do leave me a comment below!
Until next time - happy pretzel baking!