The other night, I was thinking of having a beer, when I realized I wanted something with it, and we had no snacks. I couldn't go get anything, because my wife had the car. I decided to make something, but what?
I love the internet. After surfing around for a few minutes, I decided on soft pretzels. However, all the recipes I found seemed more work than I wanted to invest. Apparently, classic pretzels are dipped in a boiling lye solution. First of all, I don't have lye. Second, that seems a little risky for a mere snack.
Someone else suggested using a strong baking soda solution. You get a similar flavor, without the danger. OK, better, but still more work than I wanted to do. A compromise seemed in order.
So, I decided to just add a bit of baking soda to my dough. Alkali flavor, no additional work, problem solved. Here's what I decided on for a recipe;
2 cups flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
I mixed all this together. Oh, if you don't have any starter, I'm sure a cup of water and a packet of yeast will be fine. The dough came out a little dry, so I added water, by the drop, until I got a nice workable dough. After kneading it a bit, I put it aside to rise for about an hour.
After the hour (or so) was up, I rolled them into ¾ inch logs. If I felt more ambitious, I might have tried a pretzel shape, but I was more interested in just getting done.
The recipes I had seen called for brushing them with an egg wash. When I opened the fridge to get an egg I found...nothing. Ooh, what now? I decided to try brushing them with milk. Then I sprinkled kosher salt on each, and put them in a 400° oven.
I had no idea how long this would take, so I just checked them every 5 minutes. After 15, they looked almost done. At 18, I pulled them out, and let them cool.
Poured myself a beer, grabbed a couple of homemade pretzels, and sat down to watch some stupid TV.