Kenzey struggled to find positive opportunities to pursue a life of independence. Her time in the criminal justice system at a young age meant that by the time of her release she was at a social and economic disadvantage. But this did not dampen her spirits for a better life. Kenzey always loved baking, so when she saw an article in a magazine about the training offered by Luminary Bakery in London, she immediately jumped at the chance.
“Because of everything I had been through in my past, I knew that this was a great opportunity to give me more skills to bake, as well as help empower me and give me confidence.”
Luminary Bakery is a social enterprise providing training, employment and community to some of the most disadvantaged women in London. They work holistically with women for two years, offering a safe space to train, trauma-informed support as they overcome barriers from lack of opportunity, preparation for employment, and guidance in building towards a positive future.
As Kenzey’s confidence grew, so did her excitement in experimenting with different flavors. She no longer felt like her background or inexperience was holding her back as she pulled together basic ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter and transformed them into delicious baked goods—baking we saw as outstanding. So much so, that when [Luminary Bakery] held a competition on the course to find a new baked good, Kenzey’s Chocolate and Hazelnut Pretzels had our taste buds celebrating. We happily chose her as our winner. We loved the inspiration behind her recipe: childhood memories of visiting shopping malls and enjoying a warm pretzel as a treat with her family and friends.
1. To make the dough, weigh the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other, making sure they don’t touch (if the yeast comes into direct contact with the salt it can retard it and stop the dough from rising). Toss the salt in some of the flour surrounding it, do the same with the yeast, finally mixing them all together until combined.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in 9 1/4 fluid ounces warm water and the melted butter. Mix with a bench scraper or wooden spoon until it comes together into a messy dough. Tip the dough and any remaining flour onto a clean counter and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and supple. You’ll be able to tell when you have kneaded it enough with the “windowpane test”.
3. Transfer the dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
4. Line a couple of large baking sheets with baking parchment and grease with the vegetable oil.
5. Once the dough has risen, knock out any large air bubbles from the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces (weighing about 3 1/2 ounces each). Roll each piece of dough into a long sausage, about 12 inches long.
6. Make each sausage into a large U shape, cross the ends over one another, then twist them around once before attaching them near to the base of the U, making the classic pretzel shape.
7. Once shaped, move the pretzels to the prepared baking sheets and leave for 30 to 40 minutes until doubled in size again.
8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F.
9. Pour a quart of water into a large pan and bring to a boil. Tip the baking soda into the pan and let it bubble up and settle back down. One at a time, gently lower the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 20 seconds—they should float. Remove the pretzels from the water with a flat spatula and carefully lay them back onto the lined baking sheets.
10. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and kosher or sea salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a deep golden brown.
11. To make the dipping sauce, warm the milk in a pan over medium heat, then whisk in the chocolate hazelnut spread, vanilla, and honey until smooth. Either drizzle the sauce over the baked pretzels or serve it in small dishes alongside the warm pretzels for dunking.
Tip: Brushing breads or pastries with beaten egg before baking gives them a golden brown sheen, but sometimes the egg can be jellylike and hard to brush on without damaging the dough. To avoid this, beat a pinch of salt into the egg and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes before brushing it on.
- Serving Size 1 pretzel