When you work in a restaurant, it can be tough to find the motivation to cook at home. One, you’re tired. Two, your feet are tired. Three, you’ve already cooked all day.
But when food, and diversity in food, is so ingrained into your skin and bones and the fabric of your family, you’ve got to get off your butt. I frequently crave curry, sushi, tagine, tabouli, my grandma’s noodles, scallops. Anything divergent from my consistent diet of burritos and quesadillas.
And so last night we hooked up the pretzels. That’s all. We ate homemade pretzels for dinner. Do you need anything else when you’ve got homemade bread? Yeah, yeah, yeah…we had beer, too.
Back when I had time (when we lived on the reservation), I made pretzels a time or two, and bagels downright frequently. I got so I would boil them in beer rather than water to pick up flavors from the Goodness. I couldn’t find my old pretzel recipe, so I went with Alton Brown’s instead. For the boiling step, he recommends adding baking soda to the water, and out of curiosity, I did a few each way. The beer way did pick up a touch of malty flavor (from my homebrewed Munich dunkel), but the baking soda/water version browned a little more nicely. Both were delicious.
Unlike Alton, we kneaded them by hand, which is the way any bread should be done. It’s also better if you’ve got the whole family in on the project. Love makes it taste better, somehow.
We tore into them, with sides of my dunkel and New Glarus Uff-Da Bock. There’s synergy there. Wow. Flavor is good. And diversity. How do people live without it?