Monday, February 20, 2012

Bavarian Brezel Pretzels

Oktoberfest Inspired Knotted Goodness!
The giant pretzels served at Oktoberfest in Munich and around Bavaria have grown to become one of my favorite features of the region (along with the iconic beer of course).  I tried to bring a little bit of this German goodness into my flat by using a few tricks I found online that bypass the need for the traditional ingredient of lye.  I have to say that these guys have got me fooled with their full pretzel flavor and texture along with an added homemade rustic look.  Let's prost to that!

Yield: 6 thick hand-size pretzels
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Idle Time: 30 minutes (optional)
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25-55 mins

1 package (2 tsp) active dry yeast
2 Tbls + 1 1/3 cup lukewarm water
80 g brown sugar (about 1/3 cup)
520 g flour (about 4 1/2 cups/520 grams)
6 Tbls baking soda
3 cups water

In a large bowl dissolve yeast into 2 tablespoons of warm water. Stir in 1 1/3 cups warm water, brown sugar and flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes with a hand mixer). I let the dough rise covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes but the original recipe says this is not required.

Heat oven to 245 C (475 F), line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with coarse ground sea salt.

In a large saucepan combine baking soda and water.  The water should be at least 2 inches deep, so depending on your pot you may need to add more water (for every additional cup of water add 2 more tablespoons of baking soda). Bring the soda and water mixture to a light boil and set heat to simmer, making sure the soda is well dissolved.

While the soda water mixture comes to a boil lightly flour a surface, tear off a tennis ball size of dough (smaller or larger depending on how big you want your pretzels and what you can fit in your saucepan). Roll a long thick pencil shape with your hands, pick up both ends, cross to form rabbit ears and then twist the ends and pull them back to the rest of the loop. Place aside on floured surface and let rise a few minutes.

Place pretzels one at a time in the water soda mixture for 10 seconds on each side or until the pretzel dough is light yellow in color. Remove the pretzel from boiling water and place onto a salted a cookie sheet (I used 2 spatulas to help me with this).

Salt the top of pretzels with more sea salt. Place cookie sheet with pretzels into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until pretzel is golden brown. Enjoy while warm.  I suggest pairing with a liter (!) of Oktoberfest beer and some spicy mustard for the full Bavarian pretzel experience!

adapted from

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