Pretzels – See you Series 4

First and foremost an update for all those who have been on pins and needles regarding the Charlotte Royal.  They ate it AND they said it was good!  Although I should mention it was consumed after consuming several drinks and a delicious meal (they may have been drunk and or groggy).  It maintained its brain shape after coming out of the bowl and the bavarois was fruity and jiggly.  I think we all benefitted from the fact that I skipped coving the whole thing in goo, but mostly me because I didn’t have to spend hours tracking down arrowroot. So there you have it, another retro dessert in the bag.

Now on to Pretzels.  I have been adopted into a family that worships the gods of baseball.  Since meeting my husband I have memorized entire team rosters, learned how to properly score and game and spent a Thanksgiving at the Baseball Hall of fame.  And while I don’t think any of my many hours spent watching baseball have included pretzels this bake seems like a homage to baseball fans everywhere. And I can almost guarantee more than one of these pretzels will be consumed while watching a game, even if it is from our couch.

After what feels like weeks of super-involved multi-step bakes I was ready for something straightforward.  Which is why when I saw the recipe called for me to make two types of pretzels, one savoury and one sweet I kindly though F you Mister Hollywood.  Nope, not happening.  You will eat salty pretzels and you’ll like it.  This kind of attitude might not fly on the show but in my kitchen, I call the baking shots.

My first hurdle was figuring out what malt extract was and where to get some.  After scouring the internet and striking out (ba-dum-ch) at several grocery stores I resorted to the carton of molasses that has lived in my cupboard for a thousand years.

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I’m still working my way through this non-fast acting yeast so I had to bloom it in my warm molasses milk.  And this yeast loved it!  It puffed right up.  Yum!  This dough was pretty different from what I’ve made in the past.  It was kind of dry but not shaggy, almost slippery.  More like warm stiff play dough than bread dough.  It took a while to get it stretchy and smooth but my mixer persevered, what a trooper.  I put the dough aside to rest.

This dough was pretty different from what I’ve made in the past.  It was kind of dry but not shaggy, almost slippery.  More like warm stiff play dough than bread dough.  It took a while to get it stretchy and smooth but my mixer persevered, what a trooper.  I put the dough aside to rest.

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Because I am a cranky pants I didn’t have to spend the 45 minutes proofing time making candied orange rind. Been there, done that.  Instead, I got to eat fish tacos.  Right decision?  I think so.  Sadly after 45 minutes was up I couldn’t avoid the next step, shaping the pretzels. But I had help.

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Even with my helper, shaping the pretzels was a bit of an ordeal.  The worst part was getting the pieces of dough the right length.  No matter how much I rolled a minute later the dough would shrink back on itself, like a shy little…nevermind, I’ve been watching too much Mel and Sue.  I decided to accept that my pretzel ropes would be slightly below average and I began shaping.  I must confess I watched a few youtube videos on how to shape the dough because reading about it had me whipping dough around like a lasso.  Youtube had a little more low-key approach.

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Once I had my dough knotted together it was time for my pretzels to take a bath.  We started slow and steady but by the end, I was dunking freely.  I tried to flip my pretzels halfway through their swim but 5 seconds isn’t much time so I might have missed a few.

After bath time the pretzels had puffed into solid knots and looked a lot less pretzel-y than before. Maybe Paul had pretzel buns in mind and just forgot to mention it.  The oven did wonders for the buns turning them from anaemic slimey puffs into rich brown pretzel type buns.

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Despite the tightly bound shape, they tasted pretty good.  The dough was slightly sweet (thank you molasses) and the salt on top was a great contrast.  I will happily eat my baseball shaped pretzels while pretending to watch the game.

After all the drama of series 4, I think was a little underwhelmed by this bake.  It was surprisingly do-able. That being said if I didn’t know how long to boil them or how to properly twist them it could have been a pretzel flop and I was grateful to have a recipe with less than 30 steps.  And with that, say good riddance to pretzels, brain cakes, tubs of custard and fat nuns and hello series 5!

4 thoughts on “Pretzels – See you Series 4

  1. I would eat those pretzels anytime, watching anything!!! I have also looked for malt extract, trying to replicate Malt bread and have never found it either.
    Hurray you made it more than half way through, here’s to Season 5!

    Liked by 1 person

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