All things begin at their source. Water is perhaps the most precious element and commodity on earth. We are blessed that we are so lucky to have access to pristine water being situated at an elevation of over 1,000 feet in the mountains of central Vermont. The very first thing we do before we do anything else is begin with pure mountain well water from our artisian well when we prepare the starter for our dough.
The old school is well "old". While most traditional German soft pretzel recipes call for butter and sometimes milk, we decided to ditch the butter in favor of an organic 0 transfat, expellor oil based vegan butter replacement. This was a difficult step for us as butter is fresh and local, however the results were fantastic and the flavor of the pretzel was close to identical just with less calories and 0 unhealthy fats. While our cheese pretzels are clearly not 100% vegan-except for the dough-all of our other pretzel varieties are now 100% vegan.
We use two kinds of King Arthur flour when we make our dough. Why? Because along with the amount of water, yeast, beer and barley malt we noticed that a higher gluten flour makes the pretzels less dry, chewier and more forgiving, while a lower gluten flour gives the exterior a little bit of "crust". The magic happens before the pretzels come out of the the oven when the maillard effect takes place and the gelatinized surfaces of the pretzels begin to fully carmelize. On the inside the pretzels stay moist and springy while on the outside they become lightly crispy yielding a beautiful reddish mahogany color. Upon first bite, you'll understand why our pretzels so special!
There is a reason why so many bakers cold proof their dough. We do it twice. "Retarding" the dough or slowing the fermentation process results in a better gluten structure, more air pockets and a superior flavor. When less carbon dioxide is released by slowing the yeast activation in a cold environment, the gluten takes on a more complex texture. First, we let the dough undergo a "quick" rise at room temperature. After punching it down it is then placed in a cold proofer for 24 hours. After the dough is cut, rolled into ropes and spun into pretzels, the raw pretzels are then cold proofed once again overnight, before being dipped into a lye bath and loaded into the oven for baking.
Our bakery is powered by a solar array along with two Tesla batteries for emergency back up so we use less electric power when we are baking. We also use recyclable poly bags when we pack our pretzels before shipping them. You can feel good about the fact that we strive to help create a better world by leaving a smaller footprint on it.
Sure we respect tradition, but we are also part of a northern New England baking culture that encourages originality and the use of seasonal, local ingredients. Soft pretzels in some ways are a bit like cupcakes: they are the perfect canvas for new and creative ideas. While we love to bake, sometimes we just like to play mad scientist. Our Market Street Maple, Vanilla Strawberry Iced pretzel and Gingerbread pretzel started off purely as whimsical concepts. When we brought them to market, our customers liked them so much that they became permanent additions to our line up.
Pretzel Village Bakery
864 Eastman Road Sharon VT 05065
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