bittersweetbaker

A Sonnet for My Pretzels

In Yeast Breads on November 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm
From Adriana Baking

I thought I would post something a little different today. For fear of boring you, I’m not posting the usual essay. Instead, I’m sharing a piece of writing I had to work on for my English class. We were to write a sonnet, our teacher told my class before dismissing us from a lesson on Shakespeare last week. It had to meet the requirements – fourteen lines, three quatrains and a couplet, an interlocking rhyming scheme, and written in iambic pentameter. It was also to contain metaphors and similes, and hyperboles and personification.

We had a day off last Friday, so I had a whole stretch of days awaiting to be filled before classes resumed on Monday. Friday passed, then Saturday, after which I baked these pretzels, and come Sunday morning, I decided that as pleasant as it was to have a break from school, homework was waiting to be completed. I’m not one to procrastinate, but when it comes to writing, I know not to force myself. The words come when they are ready; I can feel it in my fingertips, eager to rush across the keyboard. Though I may have started to become anxious as the sun set Sunday evening and I realized just how hard it was to write a sonnet, I’m glad I took my time.

From Adriana Baking

These pretzels were waiting to be boiled and baked, forming memories worthy writing about. Sonnets, my teacher had explained, were usually about love. I found no better opportunity to express my love for these pretzels.  In an effort to intertwine both subjects into one poem, I wrote a sonnet that can be interpreted very differently. The whole poem is a metaphor in its entirety.

From Adriana Baking

No snow is more striking than your pale flesh,
Your white flecked skin, and tan limbs embracing.
The cold fragrance of dew at dawn is fresh,
But your perfume appealing, comforting.

Meant to be savored, like an idea,
You know no boundaries to your delect:
Crisp exterior to soft euphoria.
You smile, showing me- you, I can’t reject.

Enthralling me, you’ve accomplished a feat,
If your skin be rough, then the devil is blessed.
Nothing compares to you blushing in heat;
Rising from the shallowest of depths.

You’ve entered my life a short while ago,
And now that you are here, you cannot go.

From Adriana Baking

Though “blessed” and “depths” are only near rhymes, and “delect” is not a real word, my teacher approved. I wrote her a short note on a separate piece of paper to explain my poem’s meaning.

Though it may be interpreted differently, my sonnet is in fact about a batch of pretzels I made on Saturday morning. “No snow is more striking than your pale flesh.” I am referring to the bread’s interior. “Your flecked skin” is about the salt flakes adorning their “tan limbs embracing.”  When I write “If your skin be rough, then the devil be blessed,” I am talking about the smoothness of the pretzel’s crust. “Nothing compares to you blushing in heat/ Rising from the shallowest of depths” refers to the pretzels rising in the oven, gradually browning.  I though I would write you a short note explaining the (hidden) meaning of the poem, because I cannot imagine how anyone would guess the poem’s real subject, pretzels.

From Adriana Baking

The pretzels themselves are near perfect. Fresh from the oven, their insides are soft and pillow-y, but once cooled, they develop that characteristic pretzel chew I love. The only change I will make next time is to decrease the amount of water and increase the amount of baking soda they are boiled in.

Soft Pretzels
From Alton Brown via Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
For the dough:
1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl

For finishing:
Cooking spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt

Directions:
To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot.

In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope.
Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope, then cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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  1. Nicely done!!! Oh how I wish I could write like you!!! Sonnets were never my thing.
    Gorgeous pretzels too! Liv loves homemade pretzels, we will have to give this version a try!

  2. lovely sonnet, and i agree, it doesn’t sound like your talking about pretzels, but if you explain that you are it makes sense! The pretzels look so delicious too, soft and golden…
    I’ve never tried pretzels before. I may just try out your recipe 🙂

  3. Those pretzels are worthy of a sonnet – bravo!

  4. Very very delicious looking pretzels!

  5. Wonderful sonnet! I can’t get over the fact that it’s about pretzels–so clever! Not to mention that the pretzels in question look soooo fluffy and delicious. Poetry and pretzels is always a winning combination. 😀

  6. What a delightful sonnet! and the fact that it’s written about pretzels makes it even better. I have yet to made pretzels at home, but I think I will soon, these look terrific.

  7. […] found the recipe here after drooling over every picture on Food Gawker. Have you seen this site? So many amazing recipes […]

  8. Wow, sonnets and pretzels..I never knew combination can be this lovely. Loved the pictures and your writing both.

  9. I’ve never had pretzels before but these look really yummy- and the sonnet you wrote makes them even more appealing! It’s been AGES since I’ve written a poem- high school here is all about essays, essays and more boring essays =) You’re really really good with word- that poem sounds really pro (although to be honest, I can’t tell good poetry from bad poetry…haha) and I LOVE poems which have a hidden meaning in them =)

  10. This is so rich!!! You are wonderful!!!!

  11. Way to go Adriana! I love your blog and your poem. I put it up on my blog and linked to you! Happy baking 🙂

  12. […] major’s heart.  She incorporates her own poetry (fixed form, no less!) into her baking.  In A Sonnet for My Pretzels, she writes, No snow is more striking than your pale flesh, Your white flecked skin, and tan limbs […]

  13. good one . nice and good site

  14. i enjoyed your sonnet, it’s kind of funny but trully it’s well written. i never got the chance to eat Pretzels but it looks very delicious.
    ohh nice photos by the way 😉

  15. Nice poem! We are doing poetry in school too. I can’t wait to try your recipe, my pretzels always end up having a funny aftertaste.

  16. Hey! I love your blog, so I decided to give you an award. 🙂 You can pick it up here! Thanks for posting! 🙂

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