“And they lifted up their voice, and began to weep again: Orpha kissed her mother in law and returned. Ruth stuck close to her mother in law.”
Bible, Ruth 1:14
The pretzel, as served in Hungary and Transylvania, has two main versions: one with a salty crust around a soft dough, made with yeast, served as a side-dish, another with a smaller appearance, a crispy snack. The pretzel is traditionally made from white flour, malt, salt, yeast, and water. Some adds fat to the dough to soften it, some makes it richer with egg and are sometimes topped with coarse salt or sometimes with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or poppy seeds. There are many theories surrounding the creation of the pretzel shape. Some say the shape originates with the Romans, resembling the Roman ring-bread. Others say the shape originated in a monastery, where the pretzel shape was designed to resemble a praying monk. There are slight variations of the pretzel shape and ingredients throughout Hungary and Transylvania. Pretzels today continue to be formed as they have been throughout history.
My mother-in-law, just like my mother is a born, natural baker. She makes the perfect pretzels using a simple recipe and a good, traditional, old-fashioned cutter. She completes the process with no difficulty, takes only seconds, but the light, effortless manner has many years of practice behind it. It is my pleasure to share baking time with her and to inherit her recipe.
600 g white flour
250 g butter
1 egg plus one for egg wash
200 ml sour cream
1 tsp salt
Any type of smoked cheese, grated
Combine butter and flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the other ingredients, creating an even, soft dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until completely smooth. Roll dough into a rectangle. Cut it using the special pretzel cutter (alternatively wist into a pretzel shapes by hand). Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt, smoked cheese, caraway seeds. Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake at 200° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pretzels on wire racks.
Even Princess Victoria loves this….
A variation to the theme…
If one wants to achieve a lighter crumb, for example when making a small scone, an addition of 30 g of yeast results a flaky texture.