Friday, August 23, 2013

A Pretzel is a type of baked bread

A Pretzel is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly found in a unique knot-like shape. Pretzels originated in Europe. The traditional pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwined then, twisted back into itself in a certain way ("a pretzel loop"). 
Now, pretzels of various shapes are available around the world. Pretzels are often seasoned and flavored with various salts, sugars or other various seeds or nuts.
The pretzel shape is used for a variety of sweet pastries made of different types of dough (flaky, brittle, soft, crispy) with a variety of toppings (icing, nuts, seeds, cinnamon). Around Christmas they can be made of soft gingerbread ("Lebkuchen") with chocolate coating.
The ideal pretzel, as served in Germany, has a dark brown, crispy, salty crust, and inside a soft dough. It has a plump "body", and thin, crispy (not dry) crossed "arms." The pretzel is traditionally made from white (wheat) flour, malt, salt, yeast, and water.
Before baking, the formed pretzel is dunked briefly in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water. In German this mixture is called Natronlauge. This is what gives the pretzel its unique color and flavor. Because of this technique, this type of pretzel is also called a Laugenbrezel. Then Pretzels are topped with coarse salt or sometimes with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or poppy seeds before being put into the oven. Laugengebäck refers to baked items that are made with the same dough and technique as the Laugenbrezel, but are either formed differently or have added toppings.
Pretzels today continue to be formed by hand as has been done throughout history.

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