Here, There Be Pretzels

Yesterday I made pretzels the original and a bit dangerous way. German pretzels (“Brezeln”) are dipped in a lye solution before baking. I LOVE pretzels and I figured that with the kids being older and all that I’d have another go at it. I made the dough following the recipe in the Bread book by Jeffrey Hamelman. The dough fought me a bit when I shaped the pretzels, so that instead of slender and large the pretzels turned out small and puffy.

I made a 3% lye solution in a large pyrex measuring bowl and dipped the pretzels one by one using a large slotted spoon. All went well except you really have to be careful about the small drips of lye solution. Afterwards I doused everything with white vinegar, rinsed with a lot of water and with a big sigh of relief patted my own shoulder.

The pretzels were delicious.

Next time I will let the dough relax a bit more before shaping and omit the butter in the dough. I like my pretzels crisp ( especially the thin parts) and the butter in the dough makes them soft. Maybe I’ll even try a 5% solution…

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Print Your Own Valentine’s Cards

The kids and I had a lot of fun yesterday designing Valentine’s cards. This is what I came up with, but my oldest daughter wanted also some plain ones that just said “Happy Valentine’s Day!” and my youngest daughter wanted to use the one we found on Etsy. It has dogs on them and right now they are her favourites. There is a great selection of Valentine’s cards you can print yourself on Etsy.

If you like my design you can find it here ready to print (For personal use only).

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Try this bread toasted!

I had this delicious bread the other day and wondered if I might be able to recreate it. I tried it last night and it turned out great!  I do like the flavour of Anise  seeds, probably because it reminds me of Christmas baking, enjoyed only once a year.

Cranberry Orange Bread with Anise

Ingredients for 1 loaf

( If I make only one loaf I like to prepare the dough in the bread machine, then transfer it to a regular baking pan and bake it in the oven for better flavour.)

1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut in little squares
1/2 tsp anise seeds, ground in a mortar

Bake at 360F for about 40 minutes, brush top with butter while still hot

You can find a lot of information on how to bake bread on the Baker’s Banter blog.

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