Another period during which life conflicts with life. Been away here:
and then came back and have spent most of the past two weeks hiding out at my home away from home trying to finish a project so protean that every time I sit down to work on it, it has turned into something else. I think evil elves are visiting my laptop when my back is turned.
I do come home once in a while, though, to give my family a chance to see whether they still remember me, and on one of these occasions recently we made homemade pretzels, following the amazingly easy recipe here.
After making the simple dough and letting it rise for a bit, you shape it into nice fat pretzel shapes and set them aside on baking parchment to rise.
As they do, you prepare a boiling water bath and give them a good dunking for a few seconds, then lift them back onto the parchment. Here are two that have been bathed and two waiting their turn:
Here’s the last one taking its swim:
The other two pots on the stove, by the way, are full of maple sap that we’re boiling down into syrup. It takes forever and probably costs us more in electricity than we’d ever spend if we just bought maple syrup, but it’s great fun and little bottles of it make wonderful gifts. I’ll post more about that the next time I come up for air. This year there’s been a neverending flow of sap, so much that we’re really just getting tired and may call an arbitrary halt to the process soon. In all fairness, First Child has done 99% of the heavy lifting here, and my Better Half has done 99% of the tending. Because I’ve been . . . well, I showed you where I’ve been. Back to the cooking show.
Finally, the pretzels are glazed with egg wash, sprinkled with salt, and baked:
For a long time the kids have liked the soft pretzels you get at the supermarket in the freezer section. These come a few to a box and include a packet of pretzel salt that contains enough to cover Lot’s wife, so for years we’ve been saving the extra salt in a jar and have enough for many, many pretzel baking sessions. We used that on the pretzel on the left, and some Maldon salt on the other two. After comparing the two we decided that the pretzel salt is plenty good enough and looks more traditional–the Maldon salt was really gilding the lily and since I limit myself to one box of that a year (preferably bought on sale), I’m stingy with it anyway.
For the record, the homemade pretzels kick the crap out of the grocery store brand and are cheaper, too. Also delicious–did I mention delicious?