New Year is celebrated across the world in different ways. Each country has its own traditions or otherwise People even add their own twist which inturn becomes a new ritual/tradition. The idea of celebration is bring together people or family and friends. Celebrating with family and friends definitely enhances our moods and then makes us positive as the the new year dawns. This definitely brings good luck and happiness throughout the year.
Different traditions are associated with New Year and each one is supposed to bring good luck to our lives. This includes even in some food items consumed during the beginning of the new year or rather even as the clock strikes 12. One of them is New Year Pretzels.These are a speciality in Germany and are supposed to bring goodluck and prosperity if consumed at midnight or before breakfast on New Years' Day.
In Germany or other German speaking and even other pretzel baking areas, on Jan 1st lightly sweetened yeasted pretzel is gifted among friends and family for good fortune. Sometimes young kids visits grandparents to get their share of pretzels. In fact pretzel is supposed to have got the shape from the German monks who used to pray for peace and prosperity. Whatever the story behind the bread, the New Years pretzels are the perfect option to snack on when you come tired after the celebrations and even during the celebrations
This time around for Baking Partners yours truly got the chance to choose the recipe thanks to Swathy. And yup the breads came wonderful and perfect. I went for one fourth (quarter) of the recipe adapted from Pittsburgh Magazine given below.
Warm Milk: 1 ½ cups
Sugar: ½ cup
Butter: ½ cup
Warm Water: ½ cup
Yeast: 1 tbsp yeast (along with 1 tsp of sugar)
Bread Flour/ Apf: 6-7 cups
(You can make your own bread flour by adding 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten to 1 cup of all purpose flour.)
Salt: 1 tbsp
Egg: 2 OR Ener G Egg = 1 tbsp EnerG + 6-8 tbsp of water
Confectioners Sugar: 2.5 cups
Almond/Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Water : as much as needed
Toasted Sliced Almonds
In a bowl mix together warm milk, sugar and butter and stir until the butter and sugar are dissolved.
In another bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with few sugar grains. and let it sit until foamy.
I didn’t have bread flour and added vital wheat gluten to my all purpose flour. In the small steel plate in the pic is vital wheat gluten ready to be mixed in.
To the milk bowl, add in the 5 cups of flour, salt, yeast mix and egg .
Mix until you get a soft batter. Add in more flour ½ cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Continue knead until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
Take the dough onto a floured counter and knead it to form a smooth ball.
Put it into a greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in size.
Turn onto the counter, divide into half.
Roll each half into a long rope and shape into a pretzel.
You can refer this video for shaping the pretzel.
Lay the pretzel into a parchment lined baking sheet and let it rise for another hour,
I made one big pretzel with one half of the dough. Other half I divided into smaller pieces and made smaller pretzels.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/175C for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
The bigger pretzel came out like this
The smaller one ..
Garnish with powdered sugar.
Else mix together the confectioners sugar with vanilla/almond extract with as much water as needed to get a spreadable icing. Pour the icing over the bread and decorate with toasted almonds and candied cherries.
The bread is soft and light right out of the oven. It is similar to any soft sandwich bread that we make or buy. But once you decorate then it looks regal.. Its all the love and hope and positive that makes the simple pretzel superb centre piece in the New Year menu and gives a perfect start for the New Year