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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • A winter's day, in a deep and dark December. Enjoyed a walk down our driveway earlier to gather holiday cards and gifts from the mail with my little fella. Happy almost solstice, friends.
  • Local friends-whatever your plans are for this evening, change them! Come join me instead at @rhubarbavl for their
  • Great burger and transcendent frites with a charred onion aioli at @kingjamesavl. Great vibe and an exceptional waitstaff, which deftly caught that Huxley was nearing meltdown mode, and saved the day with a lightening fast, perfect grilled cheese. Wonderful seeing Steven Goff and @samlg87!
  • Livin' in an Appalachian paradise. ??(view of Mt. Pisgah, from the top of our road).
  • The finale at last night's Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl was this Chocolate Coffee Tart with Vanilla Orange Marmalade from my book
  • What a surreal experience last night @rhubarbavl, being served your own recipes! Shown here: Chimichurri Deviled Eggs (
  • So much delicious decadence on display yesterday afternoon at my 7th Annual Ladies Cookie Exchange. Thanks to all you lovelies (and your littles!) that made it out! Such a wonderful community of women I'm surrounded by. We three Englishes won't have to bake any more this holiday season! *That's your girl waiting patiently for the sugar frenzy to begin, @littlecoffeebeans !
  • Put this down as a night to remember. Immeasurable gratitude to @rhubarbavl for hosting recipes from all 7 of my books at tonight's Sunday Supper. @glennbenglish couldn't have been more thrilled. Our favorite restaurant in Asheville now feels even more like our dining room away from home.
  • Asheville and vicinity friends, I want to let you in on a secret. @oldworldlevain is a baked goods goddess, a fascinating woman (she bakes AND teaches tango lessons!), and simply a lovely human being. This medley of deliciousness is a mere sampling of the tastiness she had on offer today at her pop-up inside of Wood & Spoon in west Asheville. You can order regularly from her though, and you should. Her goods are creative, imminently flavorful, and clearly lovingly made. Obviously, I am smitten.
  • All kinds of magic percolating up in here.
  • Last night this sweet, tiny elf wanted me to pick him up, and then asked
  • Only a few seats remain for the Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl on the 14th featuring recipes from all 7 of my books. The large dining room is nearly sold out, woohoo!!! Call 828/785-1503 to reserve a spot before they're all gone. I'd love to see you there!
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Pretzel Prowess

What goes better with an ice cold hard cider or pumpkin ale than soft pretzels? Nothing, that’s what, aside from perhaps a forest clad in a dazzling array of fall foliage. Check, on both fronts. 
My sister, Devan, came to visit last week and brought her pretzel-making prowess with her. Truth be told, she’d never made soft pretzels before, or any pretzels for that matter, but she had them on the brain, I had a recipe I’d been wanting to try out, and the weather and our sister-to-sister skills told us that now was the time. We used Karen Solomon‘s recipe for soft pretzels from her amazing book Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (its predecessor, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It shouldn’t be missed, either-I seriously love her books, and any of you DIY food fiends out there will adore them, too). 
Devan did most of the work, while I looked after Huxley. For the most part, it seemed the greatest challenge lay in kneading the dough. You’ve got to keep at it for 7-10 minutes, beating it into pliant, smooth submission in order to truly activate the gluten. After that, the dough is allowed to rest and rise for an hour, fashioned into a rope-like circle, and then cut out into 12 equal lengths. Those chunks are then rolled into small ropes, knotted into pretzels, and then plunged for 30 seconds into a boiling bath of 6 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda. Next, the pretzels are glazed with an egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, sprinkled with coarse salt and baked for 30-35 minutes. 
Then you must wait. Waiting, you see, is key, as it allows the pretzels to achieve their best possible texture for consumption. Admittedly, this was the most challenging part of the entire process for me, as I was in pretzel-chomping mode. It was worth the wait, though. Mad props to Devan for turning out truly stellar pretzels and for making our visit one filled with laughter, comfort, and doughy goodness. 
Give these pretzels a whirl. We tried ours with a variety of mustards, both local and otherwise. You won’t be disappointed and your autumn will be that much better with a soft, homemade pretzel in hand. I guarantee it. 
*You can view more of our sisterly fun here, including the apple orchard we visited on Friday for Huxley’s 1st birthday and an incredible lake-side walk and picnic we took on Sunday. 

6 Responses to Pretzel Prowess

  • Amber says:

    I made pretzels once on a New Years' Eve….started them way too late at night. I had missed a section of the “wait” time and miscalculated how late I'd need to stay up to actually cook and eat my tender, beautiful doughy pretzels! but hey, why not 3am snacks? *lol*

    Thanks for the reminder, I'll have to try them again, and this time I'll start in the morning.

  • Erica says:

    These look amazing!!

  • These are the most perfect-looking pretzels I've ever seen. I can just imagine tearing off the nubs (best part!) to dip in warm spicy mustard…

    Super Bowl party snack alert!!

  • Erin says:

    These look absolutely delicious! I think they'd be perfect with a nice warm bowl of soup. Yum!

  • Indio says:

    Wow.. homemade pretzels that look fluffy, doughy and delicious. I like them New York style with lots of spicy mustard.

  • DrewsEm says:

    I LOVE this cookbook. After seeing this pretzel recipe I went straight to the library and picked the book up. Now I gotta buy it. The english muffin recipe is YUMMO!