Recipe for Bavarian Laugenbrezel (Traditional German Soft Pretzels)
Preparation time: 2 hours 35 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 2 hours 50 mins
Serves: 12 pretzels
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages rapid-rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons Barley Malt Syrup
- 6½ cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup pale ale beer
- Pretzel salt for sprinkling
- In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water, the yeast and the Barley malt syrup. Let it proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and the salt. Add the pieces of butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the flour/butter mixture and mix everything until a shaggy dough is formed and water is absorbed.
- Bring the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest and rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until doubled in size. (Alternatively, you can bring the dough to the fridge overnight. The long, slow rise will help develop more flavor but the dough won’t be as easy to work with.)
- Pre heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll the dough out into a large (14-by-12-inch) rectangle and cut it into twelve 12-inch-long strips, about 1 inch wide.
- Roll out each piece into a 30 to 33 inch long rope (about ¾ inch thick), starting from the center and working toward the ends. To form the pretzels, make a "U" shape with the rope and cross the ends over, pinching at the bottom of the "U".
- Prepare 2 (or 3) large baking sheets by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large pot, over medium high heat, combine 8 cups of water, the baking soda, beer and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Boil the pretzels, one at a time, for about 30 seconds or until they float. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared baking sheet using a perforated spatula. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
- Sprinkle the pretzels with pretzel salt.
- Bake the pretzels for 5 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and continue baking for 5-8 more minutes or until the pretzels get to a deep dark brown color.
- Remove them from oven and let them cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
Serve warm with honey mustard, plain mustard or butter! Do not forget the Weisswurst (Bavarian white sausage) and a glass of ice cold Weissbier (wheat beer). Enjoy while warm!
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