Monday, September 22, 2008

Salzbrezeln - German Pretzels

A staple in all German festivals: the pretzel. They are portable, cheap, delicious, can be prepared a variety of ways, but most importantly... they are perfectly paired with a large stein of beer.

When pretzels aren't being enjoyed at festivals, they are also commonly served in place of a dinner roll and served with various types of German mustards. (German mustard recipes coming soon!)

Here's a modified version of the recipe that has been in my family for quite a few years:

2 tsp active-dry yeast
1 1/4 cup water (Continue adding water by the tablespoon if necessary)
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
Coarse salt

To start, mix the two teaspoons of yeast into a half cup of warm water. Stir until it dissolves. In the meantime, add the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. (I use my KitchenAid for this.) 
When the yeast has dissolved, create a well in the flour mixture and pour in the yeast water. 

At this point, you'll want to create a "sponge". Mix in just enough of the flour to make the yeast mixture very thick. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes while covered. 
Afterwards, it should look like this:

After the sponge forms, mix in the rest of the flour and add the rest of the water (3/4th cup). Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, or if you have a stand mixer, let it run for 10 minutes or so. Afterwards, set the dough in an oiled boil and let it rise until doubled in a warm place. This normally takes 1-2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. (I preheated an oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and turned it off after setting the dough inside. The dough doubled in size in about 30 minutes.)


Press the air out of the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. After this, remove the dough and divide it into 9 balls of dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the dough has rested, roll out each ball into a 14"-16" line. If the dough is being difficult, roll it as much as you can and then move onto the next piece. By the time you get back to it, it should be much easier to manage. Once you have them rolled out to the desired length, fold in each end to the center. (Typical pretzel shape, people.) Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Let the pretzels rest and double in size. This should take about 45 minutes. When the pretzels are done rising, whisk the egg in a bowl and coat each of the pretzels with egg. You can dip them in or use a pastry brush. Afterwards, top the pretzels with coarse salt, sesame seeds, or the topping of your choice. I used coarse sea salt for this recipe.

Bake the pretzels for 15-20 minutes. I like mine a little browner and baked them for a little over 20 minutes, but I also made a 15 minute batch, which ended up being a little softer and chewier.

Serve with spicy brown mustards, melted butter, cheese dip, or whatever you enjoy the most.

Guten Appetit!

Bis zum nächsten Mal,



Lalaine said...

My daughter and I will have a blast experimenting with add-ons..jalapenos, cheese and maybe a pretzel dog! Weeee! Thanks for sharing...

lisa said...

These look delicious. I've been craving pretzels lately and wanting to make them--now I'm really inspired!

Kristen said...

These look fantastic, but I have a question... All the pretzel recipies I've used in the past have required boiling the shaped dough before baking. Do German bakers not do this? I'm curious if it may have been something introduced by bakers elsewhere. Thanks!

Marcie said...

Kristen - That is the standard procedure in Southern Germany, but in other areas the method varies. I've made them both ways, but sometimes I prefer these pretzels because they're a little softer.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to have discovered you! I have never been to Germany, but my hubby lived there for a while. He speaks fluently and I am's so fun to see the dishes you have on here.

Silvio Guspini said...

but these brezels are white? why dont you use lye, like we do in bavaria? you will never have a real brezel without it. the color will we all wrong. the crust is not there. the taste cant be right.

try this. seriously. what you do there, is just something (remotely) shaped like a brezel.

please take no offense. how could you possibly know that.

Eleonoir said...

If you want to make authentic German Pretzels, you need to boil the dough in a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda. That's where they get the typical colour and taste from - all over Germany, not just in the South.

Your recipe looks good, but for a German this is nowhere close to an "authentic" recipe.

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