It is safe to say summer is officially gone. The blisteringly hot temperatures have been replaced by cool crisp fall days. I love every minute of it. Fall makes me think of chai lattes, apple cider, pumpkin pie but it also has another connotation that has recently invaded my mind during this season. Fall = Oktoberfest. The holy awe-inspiring week in Germany devoted to beer, bavaria, and brezeln (pretzel in german). I haven’t been to Oktoberfest (booo whoooo) but that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend to celebrate in a completely downgraded and all around embarrassing version in good o’l Connecticut right? This weekend was devoted to shamefully trying to recreate this moment below, by making my own homemade pretzels and drinking beer by myself while watching Rick Steeves.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
4.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 package of active yeast
1.5 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp melted butter
1 egg beaten (for the egg wash)
1 heaping tbsp of baking soda
To begin add the yeast, sugar, and salt to 1.5 cups of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until it becomes foamy. Meanwhile add 4.5 cups flour into a food processor. When the yeast mixture is ready, add it to the flour. Pulse the mixture in the food processor.
Then add the melted butter.
Remove the mixture from the food processor and slowly knead it until the dough is all mixed and formed into a ball. Place the ball of dough into a well oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes.
Hey look it rose!!
Now gather the two ends of the rope and loop them over each other two times.
Now bring the two ends to the center to create a traditional pretzel shape. I like to press the ends down hard into the sides so then don’t become detached when boiling.
Place the finished pretzels onto a well greased pan. When finished forming the pretzels, bring a 1 tablespoon of baking soda and water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 450. Carefully drop the pretzels in batches of two or three into the boiling water for 30 seconds. I was amazed at how much my kitchen began to smell like well… basically a shopping mall. Thinking about renaming myself Auntie Jen’s. When the pretzels are done remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and return them to the baking sheet.
The pretzels will expand slightly and become puffy. Brush the pretzels with a well beaten egg.
Pretzels are done but one thing is missing. After munching on pretzels delicious beer is much needed. My brother and I decided to take a trip to Willimantic Brewing Company, possibly one of CT’s best kept secrets. They brew their own amazing batches of beer as well as featuring many notable breweries on tap. I got a sampler featuring Willibrew’s very own APO Milk Stout, Sunpower, Hopsulutely, Late to the Party IPA, and due to the season, I got Dogfish’s Punkin.