The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

German Style Lye Pretzel - this is more like it!

  • Pin It
txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

German Style Lye Pretzel - this is more like it!


I posted a few days ago asking why my lye pretzels are not dark enough, after much reading and some experimenting, I think I figured out why. After I mixed up the lye solution, I didn't let it sit and completely dissolve, so the solution was too weak. The first time, I mixed and dipped the dough right away. This time, I mixed up a 3.5% lye solution (between 3% and 4% is good, the higher the darker, but don't go beyond 4%) with room temperature water, let the solution sit at a safe place for 15 minutes, slowly stir for the first few minutes. The solution heated up at first, then started to become clear and cooled down. After that, dip the dough for 30sec each, bingo, this time I got the color and shine I want. The devil is in the details huh?!


 


Also made some other shapes, I think they look cute with wide open scoring marks.



The recipe is from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread, I did make one change: after reading a suggestion on the web, I used milk instead of water in the formula, I do think it tastes more authentic that way. I loved how the pretzels tasted and looked when I stayed at Germany a few years ago, crispy and hard shell, soft and chewy crumb, and a special "lye pretzel" taste. It's decidely different from American style soft pretzels boiled in baking soda solution (which I also like), good to split open and make a sandwich with. I do need to work on my shaping techniques to get rid of the unsightly holes in the crumb.



I have a whole lot of lye left, will be practicing making pretzels for a while!


Comments

copyu's picture
copyu

The shape and color of those 'Brezeln' is outstanding. "Ausgezeichnet!" I can almost taste them from here, on the other side of the world. Well done!


I believe my delivery of Natronlauge, Brotgewuerz (bread spice) and a bit of Dinkelmehl from Germany was posted today. Im getting 'antsy' waiting for the NaOH to arrive. I really need a 'pretzel fix' soon.


Thank you very much for keeping us updated. (THAT, I think, is the color we were both referring to in the other thread.)


Congratulations! Well done!


Warm regards,


copyu


PS: I just had to edit this post. I've been listening to some 'Steely Dan' while admiring your terrific baking and, you probably wouldn't believe it—'Pretzel Logic' was the album. It's a sign! :-)

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Now I have to find that album! This deep red brown color is indeed what I was talking about in the other thread. Hope your NaOH arrives soon so you can start eating these delicious Brezeln too.

arlo's picture
arlo

Those look superb! I have been thinking about making pretzels as well, but doubt I could ever achieve such lovelyness with mine. Have you by the way seen the Ny Times article this week about German style pretzels in New York and in my favorite little bakery called Zingerman's. You might find it quite interesting, plus it gives the recipe for a slightly altered Zingerman's bakehouse pretzel recipe.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/dining/26pretzel.html

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I bookmarked the recipe, will definitely try it soon. I had no idea these are "back in fashion" now. I love some of the shapes they showed in the pictures. The pretzels they mad are square-ish, gotta try that. And they made braids and knots with the dough, fun! I agree that lye is the best part of these pretzels, crunchy on the ouside, soft in the crumb, hmmmm.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Nice Snacks!


 


Eric

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks Eric!

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Those look great! Am glad you figured out that you had to let the lye dissolve more-didn't even think about that!


Makes me want to make another batch soon!


C

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Yeah, took some detective work to figure this one out, but I am loving these pretzels!

BerniePiel's picture
BerniePiel

Where does one buy lye to cook with?


The pretzels look superb.  I put them on my definite "must try" list.  Thanks for sharing TxFarmer.  (Are you somewhere near OK?)


Bernie Piel in Tulsa

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I didn't try to get it locally, ordered from here: http://www.essentialdepot.com/servlet/the-2/2-lbs-Food-Grade/Detail


Do make sure you buy the "food grade" kind.


 


I am in Dallas, not THAT far from Tulsa. :P

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

I found that to get a 2# bottle of lye form essential depot, I have to spend 45 bucks in shipping. On the other hand, They will sell 10# of food grade lye on eBay for 40 bucks with free shipping to Alaska and Hawai'i!! What's with that??


Any way, how much water and how much lye do you use? How many batches will 2 pounds make?


aloha,


Royall

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

45? That's a whole lot, I would google "food grade lye" and your location to see whether there are any local sources.


To make one batch I mix 1000g of water with 30-something gram of lye, which means the 2lb botton would last me 30 batches.

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Anything coming to Hawai'i DHL, FEDEX, or UPS will kill you on the price. USPS priority or parcel post is about the only way to get things here at a reasonable rate. I bought a new 6qt KA Pro through Amazon and they shipped it USPS free! I wish more companies would utilize USPS rather than not wanting to be bothered.


If 2# will do 30 batches I guess buying the 10# on eBay is really over kill! I did Google lye and haven't found a source here yet. I hope I find some in the next week or so. I've got a cooking club event coming up and the co-host and I decided on "beer" as the theme and I want to make pretzels for some of the appetizers.


Thanks for the use ration of the lye. Now just have to find some!


Aloha,


Royall

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I they can order it for you.  Maybe it can come shipped with their inventory and might save you some $$.

BerniePiel's picture
BerniePiel

Thanks for the head's up, TX.  I've never cooked w/ Lye and because of its extreme caustic nature, I'm a bit surprised by its use.  I think I've seen it in bagel recipes, but now that I've seen it once, I'll probably see it in two doz recipes this week. {:-) 


Bernie Piel

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Beautiful pretzels, Txfarmer!


What do you do with the lye when you're through with it?  How does one safely dispose of it (I'm on my own well water and septic system)?

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I mix it with some vinegar, and dump in the toilet. At 3% it's similar to Drano, so I figured that it's OK.