Ok folks, gather round. This thrills me beyond words, a colleague of hubby gifted a book to me ‘Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own by Andrew Whitley’. My words will fail me here when I attempt to tell you how spectacular it was to receive such a wonderful book.
The book is all about the evolution of the bread industry, fundamentals of fermentation, the ingredients that go into an industrial bread, why you should prefer artisan breads and even try making your own at home. The author owned and ran a bakery in Cumbria from 1976-2002, he shares his inclusive work & his experiences during that time. You can read more about Andrew Whitley here http://www.dolectures.com/speakers/andrew-whitley
I love the way he writes ‘It is time to take bread into our own hands.’ The book is perfect for a beginner like me. It provides troubleshooting advice and recipes for all great British baked goods. What I liked the most in this book is unlike other baking books this one is not very technical. So once you’ve learned the basics, you’re unstoppable.
I usually shy away from recipes that involve yeast and dough that has to multiply in size, as I’ve had my fair share of failures. But Andrew Whitley's recipe for soft pretzel bread was so convincing that I had to try. I have made few minor changes but making bread is actually not impossible.
Yield: 6 soft pretzels Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 10 min
All purpose flour 3 cups
Sugar ½ teaspoon sugar
Baking soda 2 ½ teaspoons
Egg yolk 1 large, beaten
Active dry yeast 2 teaspoons
Unsalted butter, melted 2 tablespoons
Vegetable oil 2 teaspoons
Luke warm water
Combine ¼ cup of water, sugar and salt in a wide mouth bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
Mix baking soda and flour well. Then add the flour mixture and butter to the bowl and knead well. Add some more water if required.
Oil the dough with vegetable oil.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Butter the baking sheet. Set aside.
In the meantime, turn the dough onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 6 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece of dough into a rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press. You can even take the ends onto the bottom of the "U" in order to form a pretzel.
Return them to the cookie sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Eat it with jams or butter.