Since today is Father's Day here in Portugal, I decided to prepare him a special treat. I made him a hand-painted bookmark (check my post about it here) and I decided to prepare some pretzels to go with it.
While pretzels might not be the ideal example of an healthy food, at least I can prepare him a homemade version that is vegan, low fat and free of artificial flavors and other nasty additives.
The dough for the pretzels is extremely easy to make. Unfortunately I didn't have any gluten-free flour, so I had to stick with All-purpose flour.
I used super active yeast, so it only took 30 minutes of resting to dough doubled in size.
Original pretzels are just made plain with salt rocks sprinkled on top. I know my dad also enjoys those new versions with herbs and spices. As I could not decide which flavor to use, I divided the dough in four batches and prepared flour flavors: only salt, poppy seeds, Provence herbs and paprika.
The rolling process might be quite challenging at the beginning. But once you get it, it goes fast and smoothly. The first couple of pretzels came out a bit too thick. Also, I noted that the Paprika added extra moisture to the dough, so I had to add a little bit of extra flour to those ones.
After shaping all pretzels, they must be dipped in a baking soda and olive oil wet mixture to give them a nice "skin". They should be sprinkled with salt and/or the other flavor ingredients.
I got distracted with the art work for the Father's Day Gift and the pretzels ended up a little over baked and crunchy.
They finished with a nice rustic look, which makes them even more adequate as a gift. I find homemade gifts with all their imperfections and personal touches much more interesting and remarkable.
Yields: Serves 14-16 pretzels
Prep time: 1 h
Cooking time: 20-25 mins
Total time: 1h25 mins
Skill level: Medium
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/8 tsp Super Active Yeast
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/3-1/2 cup warm Water
1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds + extra to sprinkle
1/2 tsp Paprika + extra to sprinkle
1/2 tsp Provence Herbs + extra to sprinkle
For the topping:
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup warm Water
1/4 tsp Sea Salt + extra to sprinkle
Method of Preparation:
1. In a small mixing bowl, stir yeast with 1/3 cup of warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and 1/4 tbs salt.
3. Add in the yeast/water mixture and stir until the dough comes together and forms a bowl. If the dough is to dry add in 1 or 2 tbsp of water. If it is two soft mix in a little bit of extra flour.
4. Sprinkle flour over a clean surface and knead the dough with hands for 5 minutes.
5. Lightly grease a bowl with a paper towel embedded in olive oil and transfer dough into it. Cover bowl with a towel or film and let it sit for 30 minutes. The dough should double in size.
6. After the resting time, pre-heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Prepare the topping by whisking all the topping ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
8. Cut dough with a knife in four equal parts. Fold in paprika to one part, poppy seeds to another part, Provence herbs to a third part and leave the ford part as it is.
9. To mold the pretzels, take a nut-size piece of dough and roll with with your hands into a long thin rope. Put the two ends of the dough rope next to each other forming a tight U shape. Twist both ends together once and bring the two loose ends down to the loop. Tuck the two ends on the loop and press them gently so they adhere to it.
10. Dip each pretzel in the topping mixture for a few seconds and place them in the prepared baking sheet.
11. Sprinkle each pretzel with the corresponding flavor ingredient. Sprinkle all pretzels with salt.
12. Put pretzels in the oven and let them bake until golden brown (approximately 20-25 minutes).
13. Remove pretzels from the oven and let them cool completely in a cooling rack before serving.
I will definitely try this recipe again. Next time I'll use gluten-free flour and I'll keep a closer eye on the oven.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!