Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bavarian Pretzel

I tried to make this yummy Pretzel today, really delicious, next time I will used lye water instead of baking soda.
The recipe is for here

  • 500g (1 pound 1 ounce) bread flour - (I use all purpose when I’m out of bread flour)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 350ml (1 1/2 cups) warm milk
  • 40g (1/3 stick) unsalted butter (1.4 OZ)
  • 1 pkg. Yeast (1 ¼ tsp)

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and yeast) with a stand mixer on low.

Melt the butter in the microwave and mix it with the warm milk. Make sure that the mixture is not too hot, otherwise the yeast will die a horrible death (and the pretzels will be pretty dense). Liquid should be about 100-110F. Add the milk/butter mixture to the mixing bowl and wait until everything comes together.

It may be necessary to add one or two table spoons of water. Mix for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, spray the bowl with cooking spray, and put the dough back into the bowl. I used a separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for three hours in a warm place, or over night in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 425F.

Divide the dough into eight pieces (I usually end up with about 4 OZ per piece). Roll the dough into a long rope. Make sure that the middle part is thicker than the ends. I found this to be important in getting a good pretzel shape.

I usually do this in two steps: First I roll out all pieces to about 12″ - this gives the dough some extra time to rest. In the second step, I bring them to the full 24″ that I need to form pretzels. The second time, I rolled the pieces a little longer than suggested because they do shrink back a bit.

Form the pretzels and let them rest for a few more minutes.

While forming the pretzels, bring a pot with water to boil (about 1qt – 4 cups) and add about 1/3 box of baking soda (almost 3 oz).

Once the water is boiling, submerge one pretzel at a time and boil it for 15 seconds. Stretch the pretzel out a bit before dropping it in. Do this by holding the top loops and letting gravity pull the dough down for a few seconds. I found that this helped keep the proper shape because they puff up once they hit the water. If the loops are not big enough, it will look like a blob of dough instead of a pretzel. After taking the pretzel out of the water, put it on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper (I used a Silpat). Sprinkle with pretzel salt, and cheese if using, while the dough is still wet. This helps the salt to stick.

Cut the thick part of the pretzel length-wise with a very sharp knife – must cut deep. If you rolled the pieces properly and made the middle thicker, you should be able to make a nice deep cut to get the desired result. My cuts did not come out nearly as good as Karl’s, you should take a look at his pictures to get a better idea of what it can look like if done well. I will have to work on this part.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375F and place the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Rotate the sheets after about 10 minutes.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Take the pretzels out of the oven and cool them on a cooling rack.

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