Smoked Water Pretzels
These take a little effort but are well worth it. Savoury and moreish, the smoked water adds something special. Delicious with butter, hard cheeses and all kinds of cured meats and pickles. Best eaten on the day you make them.
Place the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl and combine them evenly throughout the bowl. Combine the water, smoked water and malt extract (if using) and pour into the flour mixture.
Bring the dough together by hand and knead vigorously for at least seven minutes on a clean worktop. The dough should begin to feel smoother and stretchier the more you work it.
Lightly oil your used mixing bowl and return your dough to it, covering it loosely with a tea towel. Leave to prove for 1½ hours.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work top and cut into 8 even pieces. Pre shape into rough cylinder shapes. Allow the pre-shaped dough to rest on your worktop for fifteen minutes.
Line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
Roll the pretzels out by hand: start in the middle and roll outwards with the base of your palms until pencil thin. You may find that during the rolling process your dough feels like it’s resisting the rolling, either springing back or tearing. The way to resolve this is give the dough a five minute rest to allow the gluten to relax. If this happens start rolling another piece and come back to it later.
Once the dough is all rolled out. Shape the pretzels into an upside down U shape and lay the two ends over and around each other and tuck the ends under opposite sides of the semi circle. Place the shaped pretzels onto the lined trays.
Cover with a tea towel and prove for one hour. Brush thoroughly with the beaten egg.
Place the trays uncovered in the fridge for half an hour so the pretzels form a skin. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Bake the pretzels for 20 minutes or until they are a dark golden brown underneath. Place on cooling racks.
Spritz generously with the brine spray and serve warm.
RECIPE AND IMAGE: Sam Lomas