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Pretzels


 6 cups fresh-milled hard-variety flour (hard white, or a blend of spelt & khorasan both worked well for me!)
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon fine Celtic salt
1/3 cup soft butter
1/4 cup fresh leaven

Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once all flour is hydrated, allow dough to rest about 15 minutes to allow time for the bran & germ to absorb liquid, and soften. 

Knead dough on low for about 5-8 minutes, until dough is soft and pliable, but not sticking to your finger. You may have to add a little flour to reach this point, but do it only a little at a time, incorporating completely and kneading a little before deciding if you need to add more.

Ferment at a cool room temp (or in summer, I use an insulated grocery bag with a small ice pack) for 10-12 hours.

Dump dough onto a non-porous surface. Using a bench scraper, cut small portions (about 90g) of dough from the mass and roll into a long, thin rope. I like to keep the ends narrow and the middle a little fatter, for the bottom curve of the pretzel. Place formed pretzels onto a sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Proof in the oven with the light on, about 30 minutes to 1 hr. 

Freeze trays of pretzels for about 15 minutes, while preparing a large, deep pot (to reduce splashing out) with 2 oz food grade lye in 2 qt water. Bring to a low simmer, then turn off stove. 

Preheat oven to 430F, put into use your PPE—eye protection and gloves—Then one or two at a time, dip each cold, firm pretzel into lye bath with a slotted spoon. Return to parchment paper, score the fat bottom of each pretzel, and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, and enjoy fresh and warm!




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