In honor of National Pretzel Day in the US (yesterday):
Those are beautiful Emelye! Great job!
I like both the pretzels and the Yuengling included in the photo. That's a great pair!
Baking soda or lye?
I use a solution of 2/3 cup baking soda in 10 cups of water. The proportion isn't so critical as to require weighing it. I brought it to a boil (put the soda in the water while it's cold! I didn't one time and the resulting volcano-like overflow destroyed my electric cooktop!), turn it down to a strong simmer and boil them for 30 seconds per side AFTER they rise to the top.
I've used kosher as well as large grain sea salt. The batch I've pictured is with kosher salt, if I remember correctly.
Yuengling is a really nice brand that I like for cooking as well as drinking now and then. Any good lager is perfect with these pretzels. I got the formula from an internet site and I neglected to record which one so if I'm breaking anyone's copyright, please let me know and I'll remove it.
Flour 25 oz 709 g 100%
Starter 10.5 oz 298 g 42%
Hot water 8 oz 227g 32%
Butter 1 oz 28 g 4%
Sugar 1.25 oz 35 g 5%
Salt 0.4 oz 11 g 2%
For boiling the pretzels:
1. Let all ingredients and utensils come to room temperature
2. Add the butter, sugar and salt to the cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve and allow to cool until lukewarm.
3. Put the starter into a warm bowl. Add the lukewarm water mixture and mix.
4. Add 4 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
5. Turn out onto a floured board and knead in approximately 1½ cups more of the flour. The dough should be very stiff.
6. Place the dough in a oiled bowl and cover. Allow to proof for 2 hours.
7. On a board which has been scraped clean of flour break of pieces of the dough about the size of a large egg (2 to 3 oz). Roll each piece out with the palm of your hands until it is about 18 -24 inches long and about ½ inch in diameter. (Do in 2 stages with 8-10 min in between for the dough to relax.) Twist into the shape of a pretzel.
8. Combine 2/3 cup baking soda into10 cups of water and bring to a strong simmer. Drop as many pretzels as will fit without touching into the water and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side after they have risen to the top. (Or longer, if you like a chewier pretzel.)
9. Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with coarse salt. Give them a few minutes to dry somewhat. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking oil, 6 to 8 per sheet.
10. Bake in a preheated 425*F oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool on wire racks.
I get fifteen 3oz (before baking) pretzels.