Oh, science  is fun.  I have been craving pretzel bread lately, but had yet to look for a recipe, when, lo, this recipe appeared in my Twittersphere.  The former journalist turned blogger-baker had done my work for me, researched recipes, and come up with one of her own she liked better! I had some smoked salt (brought back from Italy for me by John and Michael many moons ago) and the basic ingredients so I went to town.

Here’s the science bit.  The pretzel rolls are like bagels, you boil them and then bake them, to give them that chewy exterior.  Flour Girl’s recipe has you boil them in water with sugar and baking soda.  I suspected, but was unsure, that it was for color (something about acid levels and sugar means browning).  My accidental experiment proved the hypothesis.  I forgot the baking soda when I boiled the first two rolls.  Then added it after they came out, before I boiled the rest.  Presto!  Parti-colored pretzel rolls.

And they taste mighty good, too.

Foodgeeks of the world take note: kitchen physics is fun!  So Laurel’s wee cooking blog features the versatile clafoutis – traditionally made as a dessert with cherries, it’s sort of like a Dutch Baby or German pancake with stuff in it.  Laurel makes savory ones (check out her Leek and Bacon version – delish!) and I have been following her lead.  The first two I made were radically different – one was undulating and Dutch Baby-esque, while the other was flat and flan-like – and I wondered at the cause.  Today I performed a wee experiment with different pans, and presto!

The clafoutis on the left was made in a slope-sided glass pie plate.  The one on the right in a straight-sided dark cake pan.  Formal versus rustic?  Convention versus drama?