In Germany, being surrounded with pretzels basically comes with the package. And, I have to say, thankfully so! Back in the day, pretzels were, what I’d often get at the school cafeteria for lunch and they still are amongst my favourite bakery picks. There is simply nothing like the smell of a freshly baked lye pretzel and biting into its beautifully browned crunchy exterior and soft inside.
Apart from that, I find pretzels to be wonderfully convenient and to be a great out and about-companion.
I often feel like sandwiches are wrongfully praised to be the best outdoors food out there (not tastewise, that is).
I don’t know about you, but biting into a doner elegantly enough, to avoid spills and material out-oozings directly onto a clothing area (preferably white or new) that is able to highlight added colour the best, is not one of my strong suits. I wish it were, but for now I’ll just have to wait for a plate.
Meanwhile, let us make a yeast dough, form it into donuts (for fun. or just into regular pretzels), dip ’em in lye, bake ’em, drizzle with creamy caramel sauce, aaand- it doesn’t get much better. than this.
for the pretzel donuts:
500 g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp instant/ active dry yeast
350 ml lukewarm milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1,5 l water
2 tbsp sodium bicarbonate
for the caramelsauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tbsp unsalted butter
Combine the flour, yeast, milk and sugar together and form a dough out of the mixture using your hands.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To make the lye, heat up the water in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and add sodium bicarbonate to the water.
While the water is heating up, divide the dough into 8 or 10 equal parts, form each into a ball, flatten a bit and cut out the middle with a small circle cutter. Cover half of the donuts and set aside.
Dip the other half of the donuts one by one in the lye for about 30 seconds, turning them around a few times. Drain off excess water and place the donuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 180°C for about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the remaining donuts and bake them, when the first half is out of the oven.
When the donuts are finished baking, let them cool on a wire rack.
to prepare the caramel sauce, keep the ingredients at hand:
heat up the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan, until the sugar has dissolved and turned an amber colour. Do not stir during this process, as the sugar would crystalize! You can however, swirl the pan occasionally.
Whisk in the butter
Take the saucepan off the heat
Whisk in the cream, until it is incorporated
Let the caramel cool for a few minutes, before pouring it into a glass container/jar and letting it cool down to room temperature.
Store in the fridge for up to 1 week
note: 1. be very careful with the caramel sauce, it is HOT!
2. the caramel sauce will solidify the more it cools down. Before serving, warm it up a bit until it reaches the desired consistency.