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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

Surprise blooms on the Honeybush (Melianthus Major)

From what I had read about the Honeybush (Melianthus Major), I didn't expect it to bloom. That would have been okay as the foliage is satisfying enough. After cutting it down to the ground after the ice and snow back in February (it looked good up unto that point), it has rebounded and is already four feet tall. I grow it on the south side of the house and I'm sure it is happy in it's warm spot.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I think Melianthus major appreciates being cut back hard. Each time I've cut mine down to stubs I've feared I killed it, only to have it dramatically rebound as yours did. Mine (in partial shade) usually only produces a single bloom but this year, despite our pathetically low rainfall, I've got 4 bloom spikes this year.

  2. Very cool! I've not seen a Melianthus bloom before.

  3. No comment about the honeybush in particular, but I wanted to tell you how happy I was to find your blog. I too, live in Vanc, WA, and just this year have I started work on our postage-stamp sized back yard. I am envious of your rich soils as mine are compacted and I have alot of remediation work to do. It's backbreaking. We are transplants from the upper midwest and I am amazed at what I can grow here. Nice to see a neighbor!

    1. Thank you Kiyoko and so nice to hear from a neighbor!

  4. The bloom stem before the flowers open is the prettiest burgundy imaginable. Beautiful photo.


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