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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Sluttishly Savoury: Cheddar & Black Pepper Pretzels

Sometimes in life there's nothing better than warm, bready things straight out of the oven. Cue the pretzel! Like a bagel with more panache. We've even themed them for those times when a rose shaped roll is an absolute necessity.

Here, they're combined with mature cheddar, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt into a chewy, moreish, satisfying bread hit. Perfect for weekends. Or weekdays. They're best when eaten fresh out of the oven (could you even contemplate leaving them to cool?), with a bit of butter.

Cheddar & Black Pepper Pretzels (Makes 8 large)
Preparation time: 1 hour 40 minutes (with rising time)
Cooking time: 12-14 minutes
You will need:
  • 375ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 heaped tsp active dry yeast
  • 385g strong bread flour
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • A lot of water (about 2.5 litres)
  • 60g bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg yolk and splash of water for egg wash
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
Make it!
  1. Mix together the water, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes or so until foaming slightly.
  2. Add in the flour, butter and black pepper and knead well for 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and is no longer sticking to the edges of the bowl. Add in a little more flour if it's too sticky.
  3. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere warm to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 230 C / 450 F / Gas Mark 8. Line two baking sheets with lightly oiled baking parchment. (Try not to use greaseproof paper as a substitute, the pretzels will stick!)
  5. Bring the litres of water and bicarbonate of soda to the boil.
  6. Beat together the egg yolk and water in a separate bowl. 
  7. Gently knead half of the cheddar into the dough, then separate the dough into 8 equal pieces. 
  8. Roll each piece into a 2 foot rope and twist into a pretzel shape, pinching the edges together. (Check out the awesome Canadian musac in that video...)
  9. Use a slotted spoon to drop each pretzel into the water and boil for 30 seconds before placing on the baking sheets. 
  10. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt, the remaining cheddar and a grind of pepper. 
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes until deep brown.
  12. Try to leave them to cool for 5 minutes ... wait, who are we kidding? Eat them warm with butter and swoon in delight. 

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhhh, these look so good. Weekend baking project ahoy.


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