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Perfecting pretzels
—after my near-tantrum

Grief comes in all shapes and sizes

Soft pretzels, Lola Beauty’s apple pie, and brioche loaves

You’ve heard about writer’s block, I learned there’s also such a thing as baker’s block. The past two weeks I found myself uninspired and not wanting to bake. Two months later I’m still reeling from the loss of my brother, unable to focus and just wanting to sleep all day. But I remember him and I go back to the happy thoughts. He was my best customer and ate all my baked goods with gusto. Not that I sold my baked goods, I only ever made it for them. I guess that was part of the reason of my melancholy as I baked.

This week as I made these pretzels for the nth time, knowing it was not the easiest to shape, I almost lost it. Just as I was putting the second cup of flour in the wet batter, I knocked over my camera tripod (try baking and shooting at the same time!) and my phone dove into the mixing bowl with wet batter. As I tried to fish it out immediately, I knocked over the bowl and spilled all the ingredients. I wanted to throw a tantrum. I wanted to throw things around. But thinking about my brother, as calm as he always was, I went up to the room, took several deep breaths, and went back to the kitchen to clean my mess. I went into baking focus mode and tried again. This time I perfected my pretzels.

This was how I felt that day:

This was my first attempt at making pretzels a year ago.

And this is how it turned out after my deep breath:

Perfect soft pretzels

You see, even with baking, you need some self-love and it will show in your bakes. Grief comes in all forms, shapes and sizes like this pretzel. But it’s up to me to find the small joys in every day. That is the only way to move forward.

You can also make pretzel buns and pretzel dogs from the same recipe:

@thekitchendiaristSoft pretzels, 3 ways: pretzel dog, pretzel knots, pretzel buns #pretzel #tiktokbaking #tiktokfood #easyrecipe♬ Catch That Pretzel – Lard Dog & The Band of Shy

Yields 12 pretzels
Prep Time 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 6 tbsp unsalted melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp oil for proofing
  • 3 tbsp baking soda and 4 cups of water
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp cold water
  • coarse sea salt or everything bagel seasoning for topping

Directions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450°.
  • In a standing mixer bowl, add in the water, milk, brown sugar, butter, whisk together until combined.
  • Add the hook attachment and turn the speed to low and add in salt, yeast and flour 1 cup at a time until combined and knead the dough on low to medium speed for 5 minutes.
  • Add oil into a large bowl and place in the dough. Cover with a towel or lid and rest until it doubles in size.
  • Before it is time to form the dough, bring the baking soda and 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  • To form the dough, take a small piece and roll it out until it is a 24” long rope. Form the dough into a U shape and holding each end cross over each other and pull down to make a pretzel with the ends slightly over the other part of the dough. (See video below).
  • Turn down the boiling water to a simmer and cook each pretzel dough 1 to 2 at a time for about 30 seconds each and then place back on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  •  Once all the pretzels have been cooked in the baking soda solution, brush the tops with the egg wash and season heavily with coarse salt or everything bagel seasoning.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
About author

Articles

Spanning two decades of a career in publishing, she began to see the lockdown as a priceless boon – for it has given her the leisure of unleashing her potential as an amateur baker, writer, and digital publisher.

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