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Prep1 hr 15 mins
This recipe was invented the minute my oven broke. The dough was ready and waiting to be processed. Necessity being the mother of invention, I grabbed my wok and experimented. This makes a very soft bun with a beautifully pretzel colored crust. Serve it with butter or with a fresh cheese like quark, ricotta or marscapone. Important: It is really important when creating the "lye" for the pretzel crust to add the baking soda to the hot water and not the water to the baking soda. Also DO NOT DRINK THE BAKING SODA/WATER MIXTURE (LYE). You could become very ill. Discard it down the drain. You will need the following kitchen items: 1 large mixing bowl, 1 lid that fits the bowl, a large plate or a clean, freshly ironed tea towel, 1 smaller mixing bowl (optional), 1 fork, 1 mixer with dough kneading attachment (alt: wooden spoon), 1 large pot,1 sheet parchment paper or a large wooden cutting board,1 baking sheet with parchment paper slotted spoon or spatula,1 wok with lid,1 vegetable steamer
- Place the flour in the large bowl. Create a "crater" in the flour. Place the sugar and the yeast (if using fresh yeast, crumble it into the crater).
- While stirring with the fork add the lukewarm water. Mix until the fluid is thick and creamy. You want to leave a wall of flour around the fluid.
- Cover the bowl with a well fitting lid, a large plate or a clean, freshly ironed tea towel. Place in a warm draft free area for 15 minutes. Tip: I fill a smaller bowl with very warm water and set the big bowl on top of it. This helps the yeast activate if your kitchen is cold or drafty.
- After 15 minutes uncover the large bowl. The fluid should be frothy or bubbly with a yeasty smell. If it isn't, then the yeast did not activate properly. You will have to start again. (If using the second bowl, set the second bowl aside).
- Add the butter, the salt and the baking powder. Mix until well blended using a mixer or a wooden spoon.
- Then knead the dough for 15 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and silky. If it is sticky, knead in a little flour at a time (appx. 1 tablespoon at a time). If it is too dry, then add some soft butter (appx. 1 teaspoon at a time). Do not add more water.
- Cover the dough again with the lid, the plate or the towel. Leave in a warm, draft free place to rise. (Again, you can set the mixing bowl on top of the smaller bowl. Just remember to put fresh warm water in the smaller bowl). Leave until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 25–40 minutes.
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the baking soda. Turn down to simmer.
- Uncover the dough. (If using the second bowl, set the second bowl aside) Punch down the dough and knead it for about 5 minutes. Cut into 10 equal pieces.
- Lay out a piece of parchment paper or set out the large wooden cutting board to use as a work space.
- Take a piece of dough, roll out into a long snake form. The middle should be slightly thicker then the ends.
- Make the tips meet (you will now have a U form with an open loop ). Twist the string of dough twice around itself. Form a kringle by braiding one tip of dough over the loop and the other tip under the loop. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
- Take the baking sheet to the stove. One at a time, slip the kringle into the simmering water. Turn over and return to baking sheet. Repeat with the other kringles.
- Sprinkle the kringles with course salt.
- Turn off stove. Cover baking sheet with a clean, freshly ironed towel. Place over the large pot or in a warm, non-drafty place. Leave for about 15 minutes or until the kringles have doubled in size.
- Place the vegetable steamer in the wok. Fill the bottom of the wok with water. It should be not come through the vegetable steamer.
- Place as many kringles on the steamer as you can (5 worked for me). Cover the wok with the lid. Turn on to high till the water boils, then turn down to medium-low. Steam the kringles for about 20 minutes until they have a golden brown pretzel color. Then they are done and the second batch can be steamed.You will have to add water to the wok occasionally, so DO NOT LEAVE THE WOK UNATTENDED AT THE STOVE.
- Best served warm, but I do like them at room temperature, too.