Friday, 14 December 2012

Homemade Buttery Soft Pretzels



While I studied in Germany, I used to get a soft pretzel (Laugenbrezel) for breakfast every so often. It was the treat of the day and I figured (since I like them so much) I should learn how to make them on my own. Now, I know that the ones in Germany are dipped in lye solution, but as it is a little dangerous to use I think baking soda does the job just as well. Also, I am more of a savory girl, so I prefer my pretzels with salt on top (or sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cheese...). But if you like your pretzels with cinnamon on top, this recipe* works just as fine. So, let's get to it...

Makes 12 pretzels

Ingredients:

- 500g plain flour, and a little more for dusting
- 2 1/4tsp yeast (or one individual package)
- 1tbs sugar
- 1tbs salt, and some more for sprinkling on top
- 350ml warm water (not hot)
- 2tbs butter, melted
- 5tbs baking soda (optional)**
- 5cups of water
- a little bit of vegetable oil for brushing

Process:

- In a bowl, add the yeast, pour the warm water in along with the salt and sugar and let it sit for about 10min to get activated.


- Add the flour and melted butter and start kneading. If the dough is sticky, sprinkle some more flour on it and keep kneading till it's smooth and no longer sticky.
- Put it in a clean, oiled bowl, brush it with vegetable oil and put a kitchen towel over it. Place it in a warm area and let it rise for an hour.

- After an hour, place the dough on a floured surface and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll every piece into a 15" rope, shape into a pretzel and put it on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper.




- Let the pretzels rest for 20min (covered) while preheating the oven to 230 C.
- Bring the 5 cups of water to a boil, mix in the baking soda, then place 1 to 2 pretzels in for 1min. Take them out and put them back on the baking sheet. Baking soda gives them a rich brown colour.
- Once they are all out of the water, sprinkle some salt on top and pop them in the oven for 15-20min or until golden brown. Enjoy!

* Freezer tip: Let them cool completely, freeze them and once you want them again, stick them in the microwave or oven.

** You can still make the pretzels without baking soda. To give them a golden colour, brush them with a beaten egg before baking.