The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

German Pretzels

sonia101's picture
sonia101

German Pretzels

I needed a break from gluten free baking and felt like baking with REAL flour!!! lol I found this recipe a while back on the Internet somewhere but sadly no longer have the link.

500 grams wheat flour
280 ml water
7 grams dry yeast
15 grams baking malt
15 grams of salt

Lye solution
20 grams of sodium hydroxide (NaOH)  dissolved into 1 litre of cold water

 

Mix all ingredients until the dough forms a nice soft ball, I used my mixer with the dough attachment and then kneaded by hand because I haven't kneaded a dough in soooo long! Kneading is like free therapy :-)

 

Cover the dough and place in a warm spot for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

 

 

Remove the dough and knock it down and then divide the dough into 12 equal balls (66grams) let rest for 10 minutes and then form into pretzels and place on an oven tray lined in baking paper.

 

 Cover and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm place.

Then place the trays in the fridge for 1 hour (or longer if that suits you, I have left them overnight) this makes the pretzel firm and they will not fall apart when you dip them into the lye bath.

BTW this photo is NOT my food fridge, it's the beer fridge in the backyard!! lol

As you can see after 1 hour in the fridge you can easily pick them up without the pretzels bending. Leave the pretzels in the fridge until you are ready to dip them, they soften very quickly!

Next the Lye Bath:

USE EXTREME CAUTION: Caustic even a weak solution like this is considered corrosive. Always use gloves and use extreme care. Never use Aluminium with caustic soda, and always line your baking trays.

Add 1 litre of COLD water into a GLASS bowl and then add 20 grams of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) into the water and stir until dissolved. I used a stainless steel slotted spoon to stir the mixture.

  

Put the pretzel onto the stainless slotted spoon and then lower it into the lye bath for about 10 seconds.

 

 Drain the Pretzel and place back onto the lined baking tray, score (through the thick part of the pretzel horizontally) and  sprinkle with salt. Place in a preheated oven at 180 Degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Once you have dipped them they need to go straight into the oven, so if you have a few trays leave the surplus trays in the fridge  and dip and bake them when the oven is free.

 

Now I'm off to eat these with a BBQ dinner that my husband is cooking :)

Cheers Sonia

 

 

Comments

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Those look like the perfect accompaniment to BBQ!  I especially love the beautiful color you get with the lye and the unique shaping, with a little mini-loaf at the bottom.

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Thanks :) The lye not only gives them a beautiful colour and crust it also gives them their unique flavour.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hey Sonia,

Those look wonderful, and it is a great post you put together.  Would you mind if I featured it on the home page for a bit?

-Floyd (whose daughter is also named Sonia with an "i"). 

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Wow, sure! How can I say no? You named your daughter Sonia with an 'i'  lol

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sonia,

What a coincidence....I am building a leaven to make pretzels tomorrow - sd version from a recipe that I found before you posted yours.....

Thanks for the detailed photos on how you shaped yours - I  really like how you did it and will now see if I can replicate the shape in my kitchen!

Take Care,

Janet

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Hi Janet,

The key to rolling out Pretzels is that the hydration must be right, the dough needs to be soft to the touch, not sticky and not dry. If the dough is dry then when you roll them they just slide instead of rolling and if the dough is sticky they will stick instead of rolling. Never use flour when rolling them into shape, they will not roll and just slide everywhere.

Good luck!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sonia,

Thanks for the tips.  I have made note and will pay close attention to the hydration when mixing the final dough.  

Take Care,

Janet

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Sonia,

Well, here is the results of today's bake.  A bit 'fat' but they were fun to do.  Your advice helped when rolling out.  My dough was really dry and to get it started I rolled it between my hands and then on the board. 

 I had 2 trays of pretsels.  The recipe I was following (it was a sd recipe that I had already embarked on before you posted your pretsels ) didn't have the refrig. resting time as you did but I wanted to give your method a try so I did one tray at room temp and one with an hour in the refrig.  The pretsels from the tray that was refrigerated had a much bigger oven spring than the ones left at room temp.....so thanks for that suggestion too!

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Hi Janet,

They look fantastic and I bet being SD they must taste awesome! Is there any chance you can share the recipe, I've just pulled my SD starter back out and I'd love to give them a try. I also found another recipe which looks great,

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Brezels_and_other_Laugengeb%C3%A4ck

The recipe, that I'm using, comes from a PDF document written for professional German bakers which I happened to come across on the internet [Ulmer Spatz].

I found the original PDF also...

http://www.meistermarken-ulmerspatz.de/downloads/bbz/Herstellung_Laugengebaeck.pdf

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Sonia,

Thanks for the kind words about my 'big' pretzels....They are all gone now and were just made yesterday so people here did enjoy them :-)

Recipe I used was one I found somehow in a link somewhere that led me to Alton Brown's site.....not a place that I usually get recipes from so I have no clue how I ended up there.....such is my memory these days.  :-/

Anyway, I took his basic recipe and converted it so this is it:

Total Flour: 625g  - 15% of which is pre-fermented.

Leaven: 150g at 60%HL   (That is with freshly ground hard white whole wheat flour so with bread flour it would probably be a 50%HL)

Dough

Flour: 530g  (also freshly ground hard www)

Water: 285g

Salt: 12g

Agave Nectar: 15g

Butter: 57g

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients into a shaggy mass and rest for 45 minutes.
  • Knead on low speed until gluten has just  begin to develop.
  • Round dough and place in a lightly greased bowl and let it sit at room temp. for about 2 hours with several S&F at 30-45 min intervals.
  • Cover and place in refrig. overnight.
  • Next morning remove from the refrig. and let it warm up at room temp. for about 2 hours.
  • Process the way you described above except I used baking soda in the water instead of lye.
  • :-)

When I mix most of my sd breads the room temp. time in the evening is about a total of 3 hours.  I judge when to put things in the refrig. by how much they have started to develop.  I use the softness of the dough as a guide and a rough estimate would be that they have risen about 25%.

This is just how I mix and ferment. ( I use less pre-fermented flour due to using whole grains.  You might have to increase the amount to 25% if using bread or all purpose flour.)  As with any dough you can pretty much mix and ferment on any schedule that works for you :-)

Thanks for the 2 other sites.  Amazing how many different ways there are to do a simple pretzel!

Take Care,

Janet

 

 

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Thanks Janet I will try them as soon as I get my starter up and running again (don't ask, my husband threw it in the bin!!!! ) , we are addicted to Pretzels!!!! Sourdough pretzels must taste fantastic and I'm not surprised they all got eaten :)

I made the ones from the link (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Brezels_and_other_Laugengeb%C3%A4ck )  yesterday  and actually think they are the BEST ones I've made (out of 50+ recipes) tho I'm sure that when he translated it the amount of yeast is incorrect, well to MY dry yeast anyway(is dry yeast different from country to country?).  His recipe calls for 1 teaspoon dry yeast  and the original PFD file ( http://www.meistermarken-ulmerspatz.de/downloads/bbz/Herstellung_Laugengebaeck.pdf ) calls for 15 grams, I'm assuming that 15 grams would be fresh yeast which is 7 grams of my dry yeast. They were still the BEST I've made, leaving out the first rise makes a big difference in easy with working with the dough and I still refrigerated them for 1 hour before baking. I didn't get my normal split ear but I'm sure that was because of the lack of yeast, apart from that 10/10!

To cut a long story short......If you try them use the new link and directions BUT adjust the amount of dry yeast BUT still add the refrigeration..... it's better than the one above in my original post.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sonia,

After making so many different pretzels how on earth do you remember how any of them taste????  

Interesting in that the ingredients are very similar to your original.  Demonstrates how much of a difference one ingredient can make in the long run.

I printed out the recipe and next time I make pretzels I will compare the %'s to mine and see how mine turn out.  I will do the sd leaven again though as that is my preferred way to use my whole grains....

One question for you.  I have always pre-shaped my dough more or less into the final shape.  If I am making boules, the dough gets rounded.  If I am baking rolls that are knotted like these or bagels I pre-shape into a cylinder rather than a ball.  Makes the final shaping much easier as the dough has already been 'trained'.  Why did you do the ball with your dough too?

Thanks for the link!

Janet

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Janet I'm laughing and the answer to why I shape them into balls first is ......because that's the way my mother taught me to shape Pretzels and probably the way her mother taught her. LOL

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sonia,

Boy, do I get that one!  I know someone who has a theory that we really only learn something once - how we are taught that very first time....I am not sure I go along with it but I do know that to un-learn something and then learn to do that same thing a new way is somewhat challenging.  

Several years ago I taught several new ways of doing simple math problems - the abacus being one of them.  They were really cool methods and did make calculating fast and easy but when I tried to use those methods in my life my mind just clamped down and it was like it was revolting at the suggestion  just too hard to switch gears.  I know that is the same with my children too....

I will say this - you were taught well because the results of your efforts are beautiful :-)  Just goes to show that there are many, many different ways to do things.

In fact, someone just posted a link with yet another video demonstrating shaping techniques - another method of shaping batards, boules and a couple of other shapes as well....something new for me to try out.

Take Care,

Janet

 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

First thing I thought looking at your photos...wow, those are the most gorgeous pretzels!  Second thing was..I hope Floyd puts them up on the front page, thirdly, I scrolled down...there was Floyd :)  Congratulations on your front page post...well, deserved, your pretzels are gorgeous!

Sylvia

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Thanks Sylvia! Having German parents I've grown up on homemade Pretzels, sadly my Mother is getting older and does not bake much anymore. I made it my goal to make Petzels as good as Mum's.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Everywhere I go on the Interwebs these last few days, there have been pretzels featured, curious.  I made RLB
Pretzel Rolls yesterday and am contemplating making them again only this time stuffed with Cheddar cheese. I like your shaping technique Sonia, I can't say that I've ever seen that before.

Mike

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Hi Mike,

Stuffed with cheese sounds yum, I might have to try that.

kallisto's picture
kallisto (not verified)

as a german i can say, they really look like the ones there are selling in our bakeries!!

bye

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Danke, you just made my day! My goal was to make Petzels just like Mother's.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Yours look perfect!

What a coincidence,

I just went around Brighton to find some NaOH today ...

Here's a video about shaping ... defies gravity!

Gruesse,

Jürgen

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Jurgen,

Thanks for posting the link here.... He makes it look so easy to do!  I will have to give it a try and see what happens :-)

Janet

sonia101's picture
sonia101

WOW! Gosh I wish I could shape Pretzels that easy and quickly, thanks for sharing the video......I'll try that next time, I'll probably end up with one giant knot :)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Sonia,

Thank you for posting the documents. Just great!

The specific movemet for making the prezels is quite tricky. I practised a bit with a piece of rope when I was doing Neujahrsbrezeln, but without practising it for a while I'll have to start again ...

I suppose it's one of the things you have to keep doing every day to be good at it.

I like the explanation of the difference between "Schwaebischer Brezel" and "Badischer Brezel" in the document you posted,

and being from Freiburg (Baden) I know how serious these things are ;-)

 

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Growing up in a Schwaben family I totally agree with you :-)

I'm actually taking my father to the Soccer tonight to see Australia play in a world cup qualifier (Go Socceroos!!!!) and I'm trying out that pretzel recipe in the link for tonight, Soccer, beer and pretzels!!! It was so much easier to roll the pretzels without letting the dough rise, they are looking great...can't wait to bake them!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Do you know if pretzel buns for hamburgers, very tasty and unique,  use the same recipe as the one you posted?

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Yes you can use any Pretzel recipe and shape them into buns, I do it all the time, you just need to cook them for a few minutes longer. These are some gluten free Pretzels that I shaped for sandwiches for a picnic.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I've been looking for pretzel hamburger bun and I think this will work. Very nice buns by the way.  It'sOK  if the hubby drinks Bud.  I drink Old Milwaukee Ice because it has 6.9% alchohol and it just tastes great in a frozen mug - way better than most all more expensive beers.  Now all I have to do is find some of the industrial chemical used to make pretzels :-)

sonia101's picture
sonia101

My husbands favourite beer is actually Schofferhofer a German wheat beer. I actually prefer round pretzel buns, I just score a cross into the middle of the bun. Not sure if this helps but here is a link to a online lye supplier in the States.

 http://www.aaa-chemicals.com/sodium-hydroxide.html

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Sonia.  I will make the buns when I get some lye.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Thanks for the link to the chemicals.  I just ordered some and I will let you know how your pretzels work for me.

Syd's picture
Syd

They look very pretty.  Lovely shaping and a great post altogether.  Baking malt: is that non-diastatic malt?

Syd

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Hi Syd,

The recipe just said Baking malt.......I used non-diastatic malt syrup because I've used it in other Pretzel recipes before.

Cheers Sonia

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

....the Kilkenny and Guinness in your fridge!

ajfisher's picture
ajfisher

What's an artisan baker doing with Bud?? :^)

Ari

sonia101's picture
sonia101

lol!! The Bud's belong to my husband, it's his outside beer fridge.....The Guinness is mine for when I cook Beef and Guinness Pie :)

ajfisher's picture
ajfisher

Care to share the recipe???

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Am I allowed too share it here on the forum? It's not really bread LOL. I actually found two recipes I liked and combined them into this one, I don't add vegetables because I have a fussy son, so I serve vegetables on the side. I normally double the recipe for our family of four and adjust the spices to our (my) taste.
Steak and Guinness Pie

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon (sliced)
1 pound beef (cut into bite sized pieces and tossed in flour)
1 onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 can Guinness
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 bay leaf
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions:
1. Fry the bacon and set aside leaving the grease in the pan.
2. Add the beef and brown on all sides and set aside.
3. Add the onions and sauté till translucent.
4. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
5. Add the Guinness and deglaze the pan.
6. Add the stock, bacon, beef, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer covered until the beef is tender, about 2 hours. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
8. Pour into ramekins and top with puff pastry, brush with an egg wash and bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius till golden in colour, approx 30 minutes (by memory).

ajfisher's picture
ajfisher

Whenever I try to make pretzels I have a hard time with the rope shrinking back after I roll it out. How did you prevent this?  Is it the hydration level?

 

Thanks

Ari

sonia101's picture
sonia101

I part roll them and then go back to finish rolling the first one, the few minutes resting seems to help.

 

patricia hains's picture
patricia hains

Wow, those are fantastic.  Could you post the recipe for the GF pretzels?  Many thanks!

sonia101's picture
sonia101

I'd happily share it because they turned out great but sadly it was me playing in the kitchen and I didn't measure any of the ingredients because I didn't think they would turn out. If I make them again I will take notes.

patricia hains's picture
patricia hains

Yes, I do a lot of experimenting with GF also.  Do you remember which GF flour(s) you used?  That would get me started!  Thanks.

sonia101's picture
sonia101

I was actually cooking GF Brownies, GF Chicken Schnitzels, GF Quiche, GF Pretzels as well as trying to get ready to leave by 1.00pm for a concert LOL. I very loosely based them on this recipe

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27096/really-good-gluten free-flax-bread

I know I didn't have brown rice flour (I was running low on flours so I used what I had, no idea which ones) and they were white in colour and I didn't have time to grind the flax so I left it out. The hydration of the dough was much lower and I could actually knead it, tho not low enough that I could have shaped them in pretzels, only bun shaped.......Wish I had of taken notes, they were really good and nobody new they were eating GF buns. My guess is the lye bath really made a difference both to flavour and crust which is normally somewhat lacking in GF bread........Hope that helps

hlieboff59's picture
hlieboff59

in regards to Lye, where is this available? What kind of form is it in? isn't Lye kind of dangerous, unless its in a different form to cook with.

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

is NaOH or sodium hydroxide. You can get it in crystal form at, for example, Essential Depot (essentialdepot.com). Yes, it IS highly caustic, but when pretzels or pretzel rolls bake, it transforms into a simple salt.

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

I use a 3.5% solution and hot lye, which gives you a darker tone and a more blistered, crunchier crust. I tried it w/ lined sheets, but it made a complete mess. So, I personally am using stainless steel pans.

sonia101's picture
sonia101

I made more the other day and used a 3% solution and like you said the crust was crunchier, next time I will try a 3.5%. Can I ask what a hot lye is?

Cheers Sonia

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

lye to a rolling boil and then take the heat down before you dip them. At least that's how I do it. 3.5% solution and hot. Just be sure you add your crystals before you heat the liquid up - if you add them to the hot water, you'll cause a boil-over. :)

kipcat's picture
kipcat

I have been trying for ages to make a real bavarian bredzi as they have in my hometown in Bavaria, but just can't quite get it.  Just can't seem to duplicate that amazing taste they have!  I have never tried using malt, so am thinking that may be it.  I am going to try this recipe as soon as I get the chance, but I have some questions:

Where on earth do you buy the malt?

You'll probably think this is stupid, but what is "building a leaven"?  Is that fermenting your own flour/sugar mix to make yeast?  I've also read that you should leave the bredzi to rise overnight in the fridge prior to the lye bath?  My fridge space is limited so probably wouldn't try that anyway, but any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance!  :)

 

OH one more question:  I've previously used cold water with the lye crystals for dipping, should I be heating up the lye mixture prior to dipping?

 

 

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