Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homemade Bavarian Pretzels


I've always been a fan of soft pretzels and when I was younger, going to the mall always involved getting a buttery pretzel from Aunt Annie's at the food court. They always made it look so easy, especially the twisting part! For our recent German Wine & Dine dinner, my friend John made these amazing pretzels. They were soft and buttery with the perfect amount of salt and I personally think they're much better than Aunt Annie's.

Making pretzels is similar to bagels in that a warm water bath with baking soda is involved before baking the pretzels to a golden brown. These pretzels are certainly delicious as is on their own but I'd like to play with this recipe a bit more by incorporating more flavors such as fresh and/or dried herbs, or perhaps stuffing the dough with cheeses or sauces like marinara, pesto, cheddar cheese. Hmmm... I see a baking project in my future!

Homemade Bavarian Pretzels
recipe adapted from German Grandma

3 ½ C of flour
4 Tbl. brown sugar
2 t salt (sea salt preferably)
1 Tblsp. yeast, dissolved in the water
1 C water (120°) fairly warm but not hot.

Tbl.. baking soda mixed with 1 Cup boiling water
in a small bowl.

1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl.

Mix water , yeast, brown sugar and salt in a food processor, or a large mixing bowl. Add flour and mix until dough is smooth. Add more flour if sticky. (If possible let the dough sit overnight in a plastic container in the fridge.)

Now divide the dough into 4, 6 or 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, very thin, a little bigger than a pencil if your making 4 you can roll it about cigar size and 36 inches long .

Shape into an upside down U shape on your table. Bring the ends together and twist them.

Flatten the ends with your fingers and bring to the top of the pretzel and press in the dough to secure, making it look like a pretzel. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Now let the pretzels raise for 30 minutes or till about double in size. Brush with the water-soda solution.

For a chewier crust put 2 Tbl. baking soda mixed with 4 Cups boiling water drop the pretzel in there for about the count of 10 and then lift out with a strainer or pancake turner.

Brush the pretzels with the egg and the water that was whipped up in a small bowl. ( a cereal bowl is perfect) This gives the pretzel a nice shinny glaze.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake in a hot oven 400 to 450 degrees (225 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes or until well browned.