To paraphrase Jack Geller, who knew that a tomato that looked like a prune could be so delicious? Tomatoes are generally pretty fly – fresh, in pasta sauce, whatever, they’re just good guys. Sun-dried tomatoes though, goddamn. I don’t know whether they’re actually dried under the sun or by a food production minion with a massive oven, but I’m not sure if I care. Succulent with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes can do no wrong. Tossed with pasta, scattered on a pizza, mixed in salad, they’ll be there for you. (Clumsy Friends reference no. 2, complete).
I’ve had my fair share of sun-dried tomato bread in my time (and if you’ve not, you have my deepest sympathies), but I’d never tried them in pretzels. Italian flavours and pretzels get along pretty well, so I gave this a whirl. The result?
Rugged, rustic and delicious. A bit like a food equivalent to Dave Grohl (but without his hair and the cannibalistic status that would result from eating him). The rich dough perfectly complements the juicy tomatoes for a pretzel that’s ideal alongside soup or cheese. For a savoury winter side dish, there’s nothing better than these pretzels. Beauty.
Rustic sun-dried tomato pretzels
2 tbsp baking powder
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
480g strong white flour
1 tsp table salt
50g sun-dried tomatoes, drained, dried and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 220˚C/425˚F/Gas Mark 7. Line two large baking sheets.
2. Add the baking powder to 250ml boiling water. Stir until dissolved and leave to cool.
3. In a separate container, mix the yeast with 350ml warm water until mostly dissolved. Add the sugar and stir for one minute.
4. Add the flour to the yeast mixture, about 100g at a time. Stir until the dough becomes firm and stops being sticky.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Sprinkle over the table salt and knead for another minute.
6. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces. Scatter a few pieces of sun-dried tomato onto the board. Using your hands, roll each piece into a strand about 60cm long, folding the sun-dried tomato in as you go. Twist the ends of the strand across one another and fold them downwards to create a pretzel shape. More info on how to fold pretzel dough can be found here.
7. Pour the baking powder and water mixture into a large, deep tin (I used a roasting tin) and place four of the pretzels into it. Soak for one minute. Carefully flip the pretzels over and soak for one more minute. Transfer the pretzels to one of the baking sheets and repeat with the other four.
8. Bake the pretzels for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and brush all over with olive oil. Return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes.