Friday, August 1, 2008

Pretzels with Nigella Seeds

There is nothing that can beat the smell of fresh baked bread. Fresh bread is my weakness. I love granary rolls, rye bread, multi grain bread, french loaves, sourdough, Irish soda bread - hey where do I stop?? A current favourite in my home is the pretzel. My very first memory of pretzels is buying them off a roadside cart in Munich and chewing them ever so slowly as I walked round the city and the famous English Gardens. Shortly after, I encountered them at Munich's famous Hofbrau Haus, once a royal brewery for the Bavarian court, where they accompany beer!! Needless to say these were king sized versions of the one I'd been munching.

What I loved about the pretzels was their soft yet chewy texture and the coarse salt crystals on the top which just added a great crunch. Ever since I have wanted to try them at home and today with a small tweak to the basic recipe I did just that.

1 tsp Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp softened butter or softened margarine
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp nigella seeds to sprinkle on pretzels before baking
1 tbsp baking soda mixed in 4 cups water

You will also need:
1 pair tongs
Greased baking sheet

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Put yeast, sugar, and salt into a cup and pour in the warm water. Mix until the yeast starts to froth.
  3. Place the flour into a mixing bowl, rub in the butter, and then stir in the yeast mixture. Bring together the flour with this mix to make a dough
  4. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Place in a bowl in a warm area until it rises to double of its original height.
  5. Grease the baking sheet. Then prepare the baking soda-water mixture in a saucepan that is not aluminium, and bring to a boil on stove. Leave to simmer.
  6. Once the dough is ready, knead it once again for a minute. Next divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll it with your fingers into 12 inch long rolls. Shape these into the pretzels.
  7. Place the shaped pretzels on a parchment paper for 3 minutes. Then using a pair of tongs place them in the boiling water-baking soda mixture one at a time.
  8. Let the pretzels boil for a minute on one side, then turn them over with the tongs and boil on the other side for another minute.
  9. Remove form the water, drip excess water off them, and then place them on the greased baking sheet. Repeat this for all the pretzels, then sprinkle them with the nigella seeds.
  10. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown.
  11. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let stand for 30 seconds. Use tongs to pick the pretzels off the sheet, and place on wire rack to cool.
  12. Serve warm or cold.
These pretzels are great just on their own or with a bowl of your favourite soup. The nigella seeds gives them a distinct flavour. My entire kitchen was fragrant with the heady smell of fresh bread and nigella! The boiling step ensures that their skin remains firm, enriches their texture and enhances their flavour. You can skip the boiling step, but I certainly recommend it unless you like pretzels that rise and taste like white bread. Its very easy to do and lends that touch of authenticity to the pretzel.These Pretzels with Nigella Seeds are my entry for Bread Baking Day #12: Small Breadshosted this month by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.

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  1. Your blog name itself is juicy. I like the name a lot. Pretzels look yummy.

  2. Pretzels topped with kalonji, very tasty I'm sure.
    Thanks for participating in BBD.

  3. Hi Annarasa! Thanks for visiting me, and 'same pinch'! Ha ha...this is the first time someone has made the same thing as me in BBD! Your pretzel looks perfect every way!

  4. Nice call on the nigella seeds. I have a big bag of it but don't know what to do with it!

  5. Nice one. I've never made pretzels before. Just started using kalonji recently and we're totally in love with it. Will be trying this soon. Thanks for sharing


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