Pretzel crackers10:44 AM
To the point I have desperately tried to make my own for YEARS. It involved a lot of trials, and as many errors. And all those years later, I am still not able to replicate them, I came close, but that is the highest commendation I can give : close.
Through all my trials and errors I found out that getting matchstick thin sticks is near impossible, but that making small crackers out of the same dough will give better results.
As I type this, I am still figuring out how to get them to be as crunchy as those store bought ones (which are ridiculously costly in India, import tax oblige).
Nonetheless, the taste of these crackers is right on the money, some are a bit more chewy than others, but they make a great alternatives to the overpriced pretzel sticks.
The dough used to make them is a standard yeast dough, and the salty brown coating is achieved the same way as in my "Pretzel bread" recipe : by coating them with soda bicarb diluted in water. The only difference with the pretzel bread is that you don't need to poach the crackers one by one.
If you are prepared for a slightly time consuming baking session, here is how to pull them off:
350g plain white flour (Maida)
1 tsp of dry yeast
1tsp of sugar
2-3 tbsp of melted butter
2tsp of salt
Coarse salt to decorate (optional)
For the coating water:
500ml of water
50g soda bicarb (baking soda)
1tbsp of salt
1) You need to start by making a yeast dough. Disolve the dry yeast and sugar in 1/3 glass of warm water. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and dig a well. Pour the yeasty water in the well and cover with a thin layer of flour.
Let it rest until the yeast oozes out of the well and through the flour cover, this is a sign your yeast is doing its yeasty thing.
2) Once the yeast is activated, add the melted butter and salt to the flour and gradually add water to form a smooth elastic dough. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest until the dough has doubled in size (1.5 hours usually)
4) Roll out your dough as thing as you can and start cutting shapes with a small cookie cutter (as pictured above). Place all your little dough cutouts on your baking sheets before proceeding to the next step.
5) In a sauce pan, pour 500ml of water and add the soda bicarb and salt and bring to a boil, this will help the soda dissolve better. Turn of the heat once it is all dissolved and set aside.
IF you bake pretzel bread often, you know this water can be reused and keeps in a bottle in the fridge for a month. In this case, I already had the water ready, and I didn't need to warm it for this recipe.
7) With a pastry brush, brush all your crackers with the soda bicarb water. If you are using the coarse salt, sprinkle your cracker with it.
8) Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes in the middle of the oven. The heat of the oven is what will activate the soda bicarb water to give a brown coating.
9) Transfer to a wire rack when you take them out of the oven and let them cool down completely before storing them in an air tight container.