Pretzel Bread (Laugenbroetchen)
Bread is undoubtedly a staple on most of our tables, from the morning bun spread with jam to the bread slice served with cold cuts or cheese in the evening. And what makes for a hearty snack in between meals? A pretzel, of course!
The humble and delicious pretzel gets its chewy, soft texture from being boiled in a mixture of baking soda and water. It’s what makes this signature German snack different from the bread we usually serve at meals, even though they share so much in common still. It’s a must-try food when visiting Germany, but you can definitely make delicious pretzels from the comfort of your home.
If you love soft pretzels, you will love the dense, chewy dough and beautifully browned, salty crust of Laugenbroetchen, German pretzel rolls. Tip: serve them with some traditional Weisswurst sausages and some honey mustard.
Pretzel Bread (Laugenbroetchen)
- 500 gr flour all purpose flour, bread flour, or a 1:1 mix of the two types
- 40 gr butter softened, at room temperature (you can partially melt the cold butter in the microwave and stir it then keep at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 200 ml milk 2% reduced fat milk, lukewarm
- 100 ml water room temperature
- 60 gr baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- 1 l water
- coarse salt for sprinkling
- Place the dry active yeast (in this recipe we used 20g (3/4 of an ounce) of yeast, but use the packaging instructions as a guide as well) in 200ml (3/4 of a cup) of lukewarm milk (110-115 °F/ 43-46 ℃) with a tablespoon of sugar.
- Mix the 3 ingredients together and leave for 10 minutes until you see bubbles forming on the top. This means the yeast is alive and ready for use. If the bubbles don't form, even after waiting a little longer, you will need to buy some fresh yeast.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour salt and butter (either by hand or in a food processor with a blade attachment).
- Gradually incorporate the milk, sugar and yeast into the flour mixture. While mixing, pour in 100 ml of water and knead for about 10 minutes (in a food processor) or about 20 minutes (by hand) to form the dough, until it becomes elastic and smooth and no longer sticks to your hands. Remember you can always adjust the consistency with either a few drops of water or about a teaspoon of flour at a time as you knead.
- Place the dough in a bowl in a warm place, covered with a clean damp towel and leave it to rise and double in size for around 1 hour at minimum (2 or more would be better, and some people even leave it overnight in the fridge).
- After the dough has rested cut it into smaller pieces and roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface into whatever shape you prefer (rolls pretzels, etc). For a classic pretzel shape , roll out a long rope of dough, about as thick as an index finger and twist it to form a pretzel shape.
- You can score the top of the rolls with a sharp knife to give them a baguette-like decoration and if you like a bit of a crust on them, you can place them in the fridge, uncovered, for about 1 hour, but this is optional.
- Preheat the oven to about 430 °F (~220 °C)
- Dissolve the baking soda in 1L (4 ¼ cups) of water and heat it in a stainless steel pan, heat up 1 L of water (4 ¼ cups) until it boils.
- Dip each pretzel or roll in the boiling soda water for 30 seconds (1 minute at most) then flip over and leave in the water for another 30 seconds. Take the pretzel out carefully, using a slotted spoon, allow it to drip the excess water and place on a tray or cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Make sure not to touch the pretzels after the soda water dip, and don't leave them in contact with any aluminum surfaces.
- Once all the pretzels are done, you can sprinkle their surface with coarse salt (but you can also add, poppy seeds, sesame seeds or cumin)
- Bake them in the middle rack of the oven for 13-16 minutes (or until they turn golden brown) until they are nice and brown. When done, take them out and let them cool on a cooling rack.
- Enjoy warm or cold!
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