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
Divided pieces of dough
Shaped into pretzels (rather a similar process to making the simit)
30 seconds in a baking soda bath
post-bath on the left, unboiled on the right
glazed and salted and ready to bake
and a cinnamon-sugar variation!*
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.
*See the Lyapa hiding in the photo? She proves her motto.
Oh I missed Lyapa the first time around! 🙂 How sweet that she is always there. 😉
And I have a pretzel recipe in the Bread Bible book (where Mommy gets her bread recipe from) – you can borrow it sometime if you like! 🙂
Always underfoot! 😀
Ooh, does it sound like the Alton Brown recipe? Have you tried it?
Send me some please! I keep saying I can’t bake because everything I’ve baked has burned. But maybe I should try again?? 😀
Hee 🙂 Wish I could send some! They don’t seem to keep very well. ;b
I would say to start with cookies, but then I remember you are not a big cookie fan. 🙂
Oh, yummy! I haven’t made soft pretzels in ages…partly because it’s hard not to eat all of them while they’re still warm from the oven.
Those private hot tubs sound heavenly!
P.S. Love the hidden Lyapa ears. 😉
I definitely faced that challenge as well. 😉 Next time it’ll probably be even more of a difficulty, too, because I’m finding they don’t taste anywhere near as good on the second day!
One of these days I’m going to go investigate the hot tubs during the day — before 5 PM they have half-hours available, which sound like just the right pick-me-up during a work break!
Lyapa ears 😀