Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls (Vegan)

It's been four years since I lived in the world's most

famous glitz and glamour city.  I went to New York City right after finishing culinary school in California to do my internship at one of New York City's up and coming restaurants.

This was one of the most adventurous chapters of my life, and I considered myself very lucky that I had an opportunity like this. I always dreamed about a glamorous life in an adventurous city.  

So here I was, making my dream my reality. I felt brave and courageous, and if I am completely honest, I felt pretty darn cool. I went to the Big Apple all by myself, without knowing a single soul.

This gave me a sense of freedom and independence. For years I religiously watched Friends, and envied the lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey. So when I arrived,  I was so excited to get to live the fabulous life of a real New Yorker.

The first weeks were super exciting, but then something unexpected happened, Something only New York Newbies would understand: I started to feel lonely.

Making friends in this big city was hard. Usually you make friends at your workplace, but since most of the people I worked with at the restaurant kitchen were of the rough, chefish kind, I found it hard to find people to connect with.

I was a bubbly, girly girl with a very friendly disposition that felt completely out of place in this masculine, often rude and physically demanding kitchen atmosphere. So my New York dream turned into a New York disappointment.

This fabulous city offered so many exciting bars, restaurants, and entertainment options, but I had nobody to experience these places with. After several weeks I finally made my first friend. Livia. An aspiring broadway actress, who was trying to make it in this big, exciting city.

But a few weeks after I met her, she moved to Brazil. Yay, great! So here I was spending my evenings alone, while everyone else seemed to live it up in the city where dreams came true.

I remember sitting in my room, thinking:" If I'd drop dead right now, not a single soul in this city would care". Excellent! I felt lousy, and started to miss my family and friends a lot.

So I decided it's time to unmis them, and follow my dad's advice which was "home is were your loved ones are".  So I got on a plane, and went home to a city full of people who cared about me. Man, that felt great.

So dreams don't always turn out the way you expect them to once you make them a reality. However, I still love New York, and I still might go back to live there again for a few months. I just wouldn't have such big expectations the next time, and I would take someone I love along.

Sharing this experience with someone you love is so much more fun than doing it all by yourself. Anyway, enough of the Manhattan-chapter of my life, now it's time to talk food.

Lately I have been paying attention to the ingredients of store bought bread, and I didn't like what I was seeing. Most bread available at the bakery or supermarket is made with baking mix, which is full of artificial ingredients. Therefore bread actually qualifies as processed food.

So I thought it's time to nibble on a healthier option: My own, homemade whole wheat pretzel rolls. It only takes 6 ingredients, and a few simple steps to make these healthy treats, and here is what you'll need:

500 g (17,6 oz) whole wheat flour

15 g (0,5 oz) fresh yeast

1 tsp sugar

1,5 tsp salt

360 ml (12,2 oz) lukewarm water

3 Tbsp baking soda (Natron)

1 L (33,8 oz)  water

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit) If you aren’t using a convection oven, raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Add yeast, and sugar to the 360 ml lukewarm water, and using a spoon, stir until everything has dissolved.

Make sure your water isn’t hotter than 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the deactivation of your yeast. Then take out a fresh bowl, and add the flour to it. Afterwards pour your yeast-sugar-water mixture into the flour, and mix until a nice dough has developed.

Use your electric mixer's dough hooks, instead of the regular ones. If you don’t have dough hooks, you can also knead the dough by hand. Now add the salt, and continue mixing/kneading a few more minutes.

Then form the dough into little balls (100 g / 3,5 oz each) and place them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover the whole thing with a kitchen towel, and let the raw pretzel rolls rest for about ½ hour in a warm place.

In the meantime, add 1 Liter of water to a pot, and add 3 Tbsp of natron/baking soda. Stir briefly, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, place the dough balls into the mixture. They should remain in there for 1 minute. Make sure to flip them to the other side after 30 seconds.

Then place them back on the sheet pan (that’s lined with parchment paper), and using a serrated knife, carve a cross on top. Now place them into the oven, and bake them for about 18 minutes. Once they’re done, remove them from the hot sheet pan, and let them cool down. 

Love, Peppa:-)