From the huge amount of left over pumpkin I had the other day, I had been looking for some ideas and came across soft pretzels made with pumpkin purée. Since I had turn half the pumpkin into purée, this looked like a good idea. I’m sure canned pumpkin purée would be just as good, if you don’t have fresh pumpkin purée.
Soft pretzels in Germany are called ‘Laugenbrezel’, literally lye pretzel, because they are quickly cooked in a lye solution before baking. Since lye (NaOH) is pretty dangerous stuff for the home kitchen, we’ll have to resort to the strongest and safest alkaline chemical we can find, which will be baking soda (NaHCO3). The process for making soft pretzels is quite similar to making bagels, which I have made before. The only real difference is that bagels are boiled in salt water before baking instead of an alkaline solution.
For the pretzels
- 1.25 cups (300ml) of warm water
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of oil
- 1 tsp of active dry yeast
- 1 cup (235ml) of pumpkin purée
- 3 cups (375g) of all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 cup (125g) of whole wheat flour
For Boiling the pretzels
- 8 cups (1.8 l) of water
- 2 tbsp of baking soda
For the pretzel toppings
- Some coarse salt, and sesame or pumpkin seeds
- First mix together the water, salt, oil and sugar together, then add the flour, pumpkin purée and the yeast. Mix everything together to form a dough. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Cover and leave the dough to rest for an hour or so until it has doubled in size.
- Split the dough into about 8 equal sized pieces. Take one of the pieces of dough and roll it into a long ‘sausage’ about as thick as your thumb and about 1.5′ (45cm) long.
- Turn the ‘sausage’ into a pretzel shape. Unfortunately my efforts weren’t the best, but I’m sure you will do better.
- Bring the water and the baking soda to a boil in a large pot and then reduce to a simmer.
- Submerge the pretzels, 2 at a time into the water. Allow them to cook for about a minute. They will start to float to the top of the water. Turn them over and allow them to cook for another minute. The pretzels should puff up.
- Remove the pretzels from the water using a slotted spoon and place them on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle on the topping of you choice, e.g. some coarse salt, and sesame or pumpkin seeds.
- Place the pretzels into a 475F (245C) oven and cook them for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Enjoy dipped in a little mustard with a cold beer.
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