If you have ever been to the mall or shopping center you are instantly greeted by the delicious smells wafting from the pretzel stand. It is hard to miss and even harder to resist!
The soft pretzel is said to have originated from Germany. History states that in the year 1111, the first documented picture of the pretzel appeared in the baker's guild crest. In the 1440's the pretzel was seen in a prayer book, St. Bartholomew was pictured surrounded by the soft and chewy knotted bread. The pretzel was said to bring luck and spiritual wholeness to the people. Pretzels were used in other traditions in Europe, often in Easter hunts (much like today's Easter egg hunts) and hung on Christmas trees as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The pretzel was also used in wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would tug on each side and wish for happiness in the marriage, similar to the modern day turkey wishbone.
Though the pretzel has been around for centuries, the modern day cook often shies away from creating them at home. Often thought of as complicated and fussy, the basic pretzel dough recipe is actually quite simple.
The recipe begins with a basic yeast dough, that is simplified with the use of a stand mixer. Lye is replaced with baking soda and pretzel salt is replaced with vanilla fleur de sel.
Vanilla fleur de sel?! What is that? Fleur de Sel ("Flower of Salt," in French) is hand-harvested sea salt that is formed at the surface of salt beds.It is collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt. Rich in minerals with superior flavor qualities, Fleur de Sel is one of the most expensive salts in the world. Our Fleur de Sel is collected off the coast of Brittany (France) and is combined with premium ground vanilla beans of Tahiti and Papua New Guinea. Vanilla fleur de sel adds a touch of vanilla flavor while still adding that familiar flavor of coarse salt. The perfect combination for a soft and chewy pretzel in our opinion!