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Julie Van Rosendaal makes pretzels

Julie Van Rosendaal shares her tips for making delicious pretzels.

No-Knead Soft Pretzels

Adapted from the Craft Beer Cookbook (Whitecap)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup beer

1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. baking soda
coarse sea salt

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and beer to the flour mixture and stir until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Stir a few extra times, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and leave it on the countertop to rise for 12-18 hours.

When you're ready to shape the pretzels, turn the dough out onto a counter and manipulate it into a rough log shape. Cut into 12 equal portions (I like to cut it in half, then quarters, then each quarter in three - this is easier than eyeballing it.) Preheat the oven to 450°F.

For the stretching and shaping process, it will help if the dough is tacky enough to stick to the counter slightly. Roll each piece into a long snake that's at least a foot in length and wider in the middle than at the ends (as if a mouse were only halfway down). Form the piece of dough into a "U" shape and then cross the arms, twisting and placing them on the "belly" of the pretzel. Place the shaped pretzels on a baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

While the pretzels are resting, heat about 1 1/2 L water in a wide pot or saucepan. Add the sugar and baking soda.

Working in batches, place 2-3 bagels at a time in the water bath, letting them simmer for about 30 seconds per side. Use a wide slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheet (now lined with parchment), top side up. Sprinkle each with coarse salt and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or deep golden. 

Makes 1 dozen pretzels.

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