German Style Pretzels Recipe
If you live in a city that has a lot of street vendors, you’re probably pretty familiar with street pretzels. These are ‘ok’ in my opinion – usually too dry and too chewy. Here in NY the latest addition to bread bakeries are pretzels. They are served warm and you can dip the pretzels in mustard or butter. What a difference! But have you tried to make your own?
A couple years ago I tried to make some homemade bagels but they were an utter disappointment – soggy and too breadlike. What I didn’t know back then was the finishing secret: LYE. Yep, good old sodium hydroxide. It’s pretty dangerous yes but with precautions, there’s nothing to worry about and your pretzels will be amazing. Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. You can buy it online at www.essentialdepot.com or if you are in NY, you can pick up a bottle at the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg.
|German Style Pretzels Recipe||
- 1. 3 3/4 cups bread flour
- 2. 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3. Pinch of sugar
- 4. 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 5. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 7. 10 cups lukewarm water
- 8. 1/2 cup food-grade lye micro bead
- 9. Coarse salt or pretzel salt, for sprinkling
- Measure out 1 ½ cups of water and microwave for 20 seconds to heat up to lukewarm. Add in the pinch of sugar and then mix in the yeast.
- Measure out 3 3/4 cups of bread flour and mix with the salt.
- Create a volcano shape with the flour and pour the water/yeast mixture. Take a fork and slowly mix in the flour into the water/yeast mixture.
- Knead by hand for about 15 minutes until the dough is elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Separate the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Cover the balls and let rest for another 5 minutes.
- Roll each ball of dough into a long rope about a foot and half long. Form the rope into a U shape then cross the ends over each other twice to form the twist, then bring the ends to the bottom of the U and press the tips onto it.
- Arrange the pretzels on two baking sheets with parchment paper and let stand uncovered in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until slightly risen. Refrigerate the pretzels uncovered for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. While wearing latex gloves, long sleeves and safety goggles, fill a large, deep ceramic, plastic or glass bowl with the lukewarm water. Carefully add the lye (always be sure to add lye to water, never the other way around) and, taking care not to splash, stir the solution occasionally until all the beads have fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, gently lower a pretzel into the solution for 15 seconds. Carefully turn the pretzel over and soak it for another 15 seconds. With the spatula, remove the pretzel from the lye solution and return it to the baking sheets.
- Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt and bake on the top and middle racks of the oven until shiny-brown and risen, about 17 minutes; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the pretzels cool slightly on the baking sheets before serving.
For the full German experience, eat pretzels with sweet mustard, butter, and a side of weisswurst and of course some beer. Enjoy!