The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Soft Pretzels (German brezel)

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Neo-Homesteading's picture
Neo-Homesteading

Sourdough Soft Pretzels (German brezel)

 


 


So this was about my third time making soft pretzels only the first making them with sourdough. I'm having a bit of a time mastering technique but getting closer with each try. This day my kitchen was hotter than hell so it caused a bit of an issue I believe the pretzels came out of the fridge and then over proofed wicked fast. I've got my shaping more consistent but my problem seems to lie mostly in the water bath. I researched authentic german bagel recipes and even watched a few german bakers videos. I was surprised to find out that a lot of German bakeries don't even do the boiling bath they only do egg wash or they dip them in the lye solution for a second and then bake. I really wonder though does the texture and crust form anywhere close to what I'm accustomed to? I'm highly tempted to actually try not doing the water bath next time, I love soft pretzels so much but they keep coming out so ugly. They always taste amazing and those I share them with dont complain but as I'm trying to master the authentic recipe, I think the outer crust still needs a bit of work. I hope to find the closest authentic german brezel recipe I can. 


 


External Link to Blog Post: http://neo-homesteading.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-my-midnight-confessions-sourdough.html


 

Comments

holds99's picture
holds99

I haven't made pretzels, but have made many batches of bagels.  A couple of years back I purchased King Arthur Flour's (KAF) Ciril Hitz DVD "Simplified Bread Baking: Baguettes to Pretzels".  After watching the pretzel segment of Hitz's DVD (Hitz uses lye water) it appears that the process for bagels and pretzels is similar.  The only time I ever had a problem with bagels was when they sat out in a warm room and overproofed before I put them into the boiling water bath.  Since that time, after I take them out of the fridge I put them directly into the hot water bath---no waiting around.  I presume the same would be true for pretzels.


Incidentally, the Ciril Hitz DVD from KAF is a very good DVD for home bakers.


Howard

hanseata's picture
hanseata

According to my favorite German bread baking book, Richard Ploner's: "Brot aus Suedtirol", the reason for putting cold pretzels into the water bath is that they don't absorb too much lye or baking soda.


He recommends to put the proofed breads for 30 min into the freezer before they go into the water bath. I made pretzels and pretzel rolls from that recipe (it's not with sourdough) several times, though I  retarded the dough overnight, using baking soda, not lye, in the water bath.


They taste  really good (and the crust is right) - especially accompanied by wheat beer and Weisswurst (sadly missed but of course not available in Maine).



Suedtiroler Laugenbroetchen


 

Neo-Homesteading's picture
Neo-Homesteading

I saw one video online that mentioned placing them in the freezer, i've never done that but I'm absolutely going to try next time. My side by side fridge makes it difficult but I'll find a way. 


Depending what area of maine you live in I know central and southern there used to be butcher shoppes here and there. I have a sausage making book that has a good recipe for weisswurst in it and I'm pretty sure thats one of the easier German sausages to make at home, very similar to bratwursts except instead of just ground veal it also has bacon pieces.


If thats not an option boars head is available nationwide now days and they carry a lot of amazing sausages. Shaws and market basket were the only stores we had around when I lived up north though, I'm not sure what its like now days but Giant and Wegmans food stores have the best sausage selections I've seen.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I know what you're talking about, Cat, I have the same issue - my freezer is crammed full, mostly with breads, since my husband and I can't eat them down fast enough to keep up with my baking...


I also thought of making my own sausages, I had a German book on sausage making written by a butcher for the use of "housewives", but I gave it to my daughter (never to be seen again) and have to re-order it from amazon.de. My most favorite would be "Nuernberger Bratwurst" and "Thueringer". Have you made sausages already?


Unfortunately we have only Shaw's and Hannaford here around and they don't carry anything more "exotic". When I visited Seattle last year - they had German breads, sausages, cold cuts etc. -"Karl's Sausage Kitchen" in Saugus/MA has good German cold cuts, but I didn't think their bratwurst and weisswurst were that great.


Keep up the good works,


Karin

Neo-Homesteading's picture
Neo-Homesteading

I've made mostly lamb, pork and venison sausage. Venison sausage I make A LOT of around hunting season (obvious reasons for that :P) I'm working on setting up a smoker hopefully before this hunting season because I'd like to try smoking sausages at home. 


 


http://www.amazon.com/Home-Sausage-Making-How-Techniques/dp/158017471X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279825737&sr=8-1


 


thats the book I have, I haven't been to the butcher recently but I'm hoping to make rabbit sausage and brats soon.