I really like pretzels…not sure why, they’ve just always been a favorite. They are the ultimate fix when you get a salty craving, and are readily available basically anywhere: convenience stores, baseball parks, most people’s pantries, etc. I’ve introduced to Maya Jacobs before (sushi guru), and the other day she suggested we try to make pretzels on our own. I laughed at first, only to discover that they are SO easy to make! If you don’t believe me, I dare you to give these Soft Pretzel Bites a try yourself.
I admit – dry active yeast can be a tricky thing to work with (and of course takes a lot of patience). This recipe is almost like a “beginner’s guide” to baking with yeast. One recommendation – start letting the dough rise before you are hungry (or else an hour will feel like a year…heh). I topped these pretzels with coarse salt, but feel free to be creative with your toppings: cinnamon sugar, parmesan, fresh herbs, etc.
Mustard is a given for serving – I prefer the whole grain variety (Maille is my favorite!) That being said, you can basically choose whatever you’re craving: hummus, cheese, dipping chocolate even! Maya and I also are fans of Prosecco, so we made that our drink for the evening (I know you’re supposed to eat pretzels with beer, but this combination was quite lovely…and I’ve never been much of a beer person). Click HERE to see the recipe for these pillowy pretzels – you’ll wonder why you ever spent money at an Auntie Anne’s!
For this pairing, I wanted something light yet unique – the “pillowy” aspect of these led me to the music of Poulenc, and I chose his Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon, Op. 43. Written in 1926, the work is both witty and light, yet also has moments of dissonance true to Poulenc’s style. Author and music critic David Ewen says of the work: “Pictorially one is sometimes reminded of a chase, sometimes a dialogue…The very heart of Poulenc is in this adroit little work.” It is fun little trio, and many people love it (almost as much as I love pretzels, I bet!) – I hope you enjoy it as well!
“Francis Poulenc: Trio for Piano, Oboe, and Bassoon,” Sierra Chamber Society Program Notes