Sometimes the secrets of fermentation surpass our knowledge capacity. The process that yields pickles, kimchi, yogurt, wine and other tart, flavorful and especially healthy ingredients can be used to enhance almost anything you cook. Blogger, podcast host and all-around fermentation master Branden Byers’ new cookbook, The Everyday Fermentation Handbook, is a fount of knowledge. Ever think you could enhance pretzels with yogurt? Prepare to be amazed.
These kefir and sourdough pretzels will put a smile on your face. The creaminess of fermented dairy pairs well with the whole wheat and sourdough flavors. There is something simply satisfying about rolling out and twisting pretzels. At first pretzels look difficult to form, but the secret is that they are so simple a baby microbe could do it if only microbes had hands.
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups sourdough starter
- 1 cup kefir or mesophilic yogurt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- flake or kosher salt for topping (Maldon sea salt recommended)
- Combine flour, sourdough starter, kefir, butter, malt syrup and salt in a bowl.
- Knead in bowl for 3-5 minutes. This is a dense and dry dough and so may take some time before fully coming together.
- Cover and rest dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
- Knead dough for 10-15 minutes.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel and let rest for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours depending on ambient temperature and desired sourness of final pretzel.
- Preheat oven to 450°F and bring a pot with water and baking soda to a rolling boil.
- Separate dough into 16 pieces for medium-size pretzels.
- Roll each dough piece into a cylinder roughly 20 inches in length and twist into a traditional pretzel shape.
- Once all pretzels are shaped, place 1-2 pretzels at a time into the boiling water and baking soda solution for 30 seconds.
- Remove each pretzel with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment-lined pan.
- Top each pretzel with flake or kosher salt.
- Bake pretzels in oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a deep golden-brown color.
- Place on cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Note: Sourdough starter is available online or at most bake shops.
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