Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough pretzel dough is straightforward, there’s a trick to the crisp “shell” and soft center. Get sourdough recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Have you ever decided to try a recipe for the first time for a party? That was our first attempt at Sourdough Pretzel Bites. Several years back, George and I volunteered to prepare a fondue-themed surprise party for a dear friend. We bought about 10 kinds of cheese and made several sweet and savory fondues: classic Emmenthaler, cheddar and beer, Gruyere and wine, gjetost, Brie and shiitake, squash and cheddar, Spanish Manchego, bagna cauda, and of course chocolate. I guess that 30, maybe 40, people passed through the house that night, poking various dippers into every fondue pot we could get our hands on.

Our first sourdough soft pretzel attempt disappeared quickly that night, but in the years since I’ve tweaked and perfected the recipe. The dough is straightforward; where opinions vary widely is in how to achieve a crisp “shell” and soft center. German soft pretzels have long been dipped in lye, an alkaline substance so caustic that it’s used to clean clogged drains and requires gloves when handling. As much as I love traditional flavors and techniques, I wasn’t ready to introduce that element into my kitchen.

The eminent Harold McGee has recommended sodium carbonate, sometimes called soda ash, as a replacement: simply bake sodium bicarbonate, also known as the common kitchen staple baking soda, at a low temperature until most of its water and carbon dioxide evaporate. On the upside, your pretzels will have that traditional bite; on the downside, this “baked soda” will still irritate your skin. So I prefer standard baking soda in my soda water bath. It may be less traditional and less flavorful, but it balances well with the sourdough tang and doesn’t eat into my hands.
Learn to make Sourdough Pretzel Bites and Beer–Cheese Dip

Traveling Snacks

Crunchy cravings when you’re not really hungry can be satisfied with simple home-baked snacks that are healthy and delicious. Get homemade snack recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Do you ever get the craving to just crunch on something even when you’re not hungry? Or find yourself reaching for a bag of potato or tortilla chips when you’d rather munch on a healthier snack? These cravings are what drew me to seaweed snacks, particularly when I’m on a full-day road trip and just eating because I’m bored of being behind the wheel.

Although I quickly developed a love for packets of toasted, flavored, seaweed chips, I just as quickly found I hated the excessive layers of packaging used to keep them whole during transport and on store shelves. They require few ingredients and no special equipment, so I soon began making my own. Then I decided to take it a step further: Could I satisfy my crunchy craving with something from the garden instead of seaweed, which I have to buy? Kale and chard chips became easy homegrown substitutes. Now I tend to make some of each, particularly when I’m prepping for a road trip or sailing adventure, to keep a mixed bag of flavors within reach.
Learn to make Homemade Seaweed Snacks and Roasted Kale Chips