These German style chewy, soft pretzels are great to munch on whilst sinking a few beers. Originating in Bavaria and served with the local beers, they go particularly well with a Weissbeer or three.
It’s a pretty simple dough that gets dunked in water briefly to allow a skin to form before they are baked. Traditionally the water is mixed with lye, a strong alkaline that you might know better as caustic soda! It’s pretty dangerous stuff and not the sort of thing I want in my kitchen. Instead of the lye, you can use some baking soda which gives a similar effect only the crust won’t be quite as dark and chewy. Small price to pay.
The addition of some dry malt extract gives them their unique colour and flavour. You’ll have bags of this to hand if you are a home brewer, but if not, replace with packed brown sugar.
The tricky bit is shaping them. But then if it’s just you and your family or mates eating them, does it really matter if they look a bit lumpy and bumpy? They taste. Here are some links to youtube instructions – Shaping German Pretzels
To make the dough:
- 1 kg Plain White Flour
- 150 ml warm milk
- 370 ml warm water
- 75 g Butter (unsalted)
- 1 tbsp malt extract (liquid or dried, or brown sugar)
- 2 tsp fast action dried yeast
- 2 tbsp Salt
For the dip:
- 1.5 L Water
- 3 tbsp Baking Soda
Here’s what to do
- Make the dough as if you were making a bread dough. Easiest if you have a food mixer with a dough hook – just sling all the ingredients in and mix for 5 mins. By hand, mis and knead until you have a soft dough.
- Allow to prove for a good hour until it has double in size.
- Knock the dough back and form into small batons ready to shape. Watch the video above for approx size. You can make twists or figure-of-eight shapes if you prefer.
- Leave for a further 30-40 mins for the second rise. Again, they should double in size. And you want to see a skin start to form.
- Bring your water to the boil and add the baking soda.
- Very carefully, lower the pretzels one by one into the pot of boiling water for about 3-4 seconds. Literally just a quick dip and they should float back up again.
- Sprinkle each pretzel with rock salt and make a slash in the fattest knot part to allow it to expand in the oven.
- Bake at 200C for about 15 mins until beautiful and toasty brown.
Recipe should make around 15 pretzels.