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Bertha Stikes again - this time in Pretzels

I was thinking about pretzels and then came across this recipe for sourdough soft pretzels at King Arthur Flour. It was less finicky than the other recipe that I have, which you have to boil the pretzels in water with baking soda before baking, similar to bagels.  So I thought since Bertha needed a feed,  I'd give this one a whirl. It also only requires one rise. As usual, I changed it up a bit.

Sourdough Pretzels (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3/4 c warm water
1 T sugar
1 c unfed sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator
1/4 non-fat dry milk or dried buttermilk
3 c bread flour
1 T canola oil
1 1/2 t salt

1 T sugar
2 T water
kosher salt
cinnamon sugar
herbes de Provence

Dissolve sugar in warm water.  Add yeast and set aside until bubbly.  Meanwhile mix sourdough starter, dried milk (or dried buttermilk), oil, and salt together. When yeast is ready pour into sourdough mixture.  Gradually add flour mixing. Dough will remain sticky.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Or use Kitchen Aid with dough hook attachment.  Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.  Dough will not double and will remain sticky.

Place dough on floured surface (or silpat). Gently deflate and cut dough into 12 even pieces.  With your hands roll each dough piece into an 18" rope.  Shape into pretzel. Place on parchment or silpat.

Cut dough into 12 pieces and make 18" rope

Cross dough over

Take ends and bring down over "triangle"

You can do a double twist if you prefer
Plain Salt
Or Cinnamon Sugar Or Herbes de Provence
Dissolve the sugar into the water -  slightly warm water will help dissolve the sugar easier.  Brush each pretzel with sugar water and add desired toppings. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown.

These pretzels will not get dark brown that you usually see when you think pretzels. The baking soda bath is what helps with the browning.  I used the dried buttermilk since I didn't have the dried milk. I had some difficulty with shaping the pretzels as the dough is very sticky. It is helpful to sort of make the first crossover sort of triangular.  I found I was often missing the "holes" when I transferred the pretzels to the baking sheet.  I just sort of used my finger to remake the hole.
They puff up a little during baking

Maybe not the perfect looking pretzel but definitely the best tasting!
They must be very good since in one afternoon the Sous Chef and I managed to polish off more than half of them!


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