April is the Soft Pretzel Month
Celebrating the Pretzel
A traditional German food, a pretzel is a soft doughy creation, usually twisted into a knot shape or a loop. A symbol of good luck and coming in both sweet and savoury varieties, pretzels are an increasingly popular snack all over the world. The pretzels are said to have originated in Italy or France from as far back as 610 AD and is a multimillion dollar a year franchise – and it’s no wonder – they’re delicious.
April is National Soft Pretzel Month and this is a great time of year for celebrating soft pretzels, trying out some new recipes and enjoying them! As pretzels are associated with Lent and the ‘knot’ shape was supposed to symbolise the shape of the arms a person in prayer creates, pretzels are generally associated with the Easter period too. The 4th Sunday in Lent is another day celebrating pretzels, where boys can give girls pretzels to represent their interest in their new beau!
How to make a plain pretzel?
If you’ve never heard of or tried a soft pretzel – you are missing out, so get baking and see what you can make… you are sure to become a huge fan of these lovely doughy treats. The ingredients you will need are: 2-3 cups plain flour, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup warm milk.
Pour two cups of the flour into a mixing bowl then add each of the other ingredients until the mixture becomes thick. After this, then add the rest of the flour until you have a ball of dough. Preheat the oven to 425F and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes then break it into 6 even pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a stick and cover with a towel. Let the dough sticks sit for 10 minutes and then repeat the “roll and stretch” process again. Again, roll them into a stick about 15 inches long and ½ inch wide. Put the strand of dough in front of you, hold each end and loop the ends out away from you then back towards your body, then crossing them. Gently push the ends together so they stick.
To bake your pretzels, you need to decide on your topping of choice – if you want to make simple, salted pretzels, just spray a little water over the outside of the dough, then sprinkle the salt on top. Place the pretzels on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can egg wash or boil your pretzels before baking to get different textures – it’s totally down to personal preference.
Eat them warm and buttery, or try them dipped in melted chocolate if you want a mixture of sweet and savoury together. Pretzel dips such as cheese or honey mustard are also delicious and are a different take on the traditional pretzel recipe – ideal for Soft Pretzel Month.
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