Water baths

The other day it was chilly and windy and I balked at going outside, but Erik said, “Pretend we’re in Iceland,” and that made things okay. Then, once we were out on our deck, we realized that if we were in Iceland we would be going to the hot pots, and I remembered that there is a hot-tub place down the street that I have been meaning to check out. I am very happy to report I think we have found our local approximation of the Icelandic and Japanese baths (and the Korean ones I’ve been to in the US). Piedmont Springs is less than half a mile from us and has private outdoor tubs, not to mention massage and skincare services. It’s considerably more expensive than its counterparts in the countries where public baths are more commonplace, but on the other hand, the privacy is nice (there’s even a shower within the enclosure) — and enables swimsuit-optional bathing, which I prefer. It’s too pricey for us to go every day (oh how I miss the entry prices abroad of ¥400 [~$4] or 600 krona [~$5]), but we could certainly do a few times a month, or more often as an indulgence.

Speaking of water baths, the other day I decided to bake soft pretzels, after buying one in a hipster coffee shop nearby. I found an Alton Brown recipe and it really wasn’t too complicated, with only an hour rise time and the kneading done in the stand mixer.

Dough after rising, ready to be shaped

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Divided pieces of doughDSCN8334
Shaped into pretzels (rather a similar process to making the simit)
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30 seconds in a baking soda bath
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post-bath on the left, unboiled on the right
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glazed and salted and ready to bake
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pretzels!
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and a cinnamon-sugar variation!*
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They’re very delicious, but I think pretzels ought to be chewier; these are more like soft bread. And next time I could put even more cinnamon sugar on the sweet ones — maybe actually dip/dredge them instead of just sprinkling the mixture over the top. But they were really pretty easy to make, and on this virtue alone, I think I’ll be making them again.

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*See the Lyapa hiding in the photo? She proves her motto.

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