500 gr FlourI use all purpose flour; bread flour, or a 1:1 mix of the two types of flour would also work
40 gr Butterthis needs to be soft and ideally be at room temperature; I partially melt cold butter in the microwave, then stir it and let it stand around at room temperature
1 tablespoon Salt
200 ml Milkany kind is ok; I use 2% reduced fat milk; this needs to be made lukewarm, if dry active yeast is used
100 ml Watershould be at room temperature
60 gr baking sodasodium bicarbonate; this may be called Natron at some stores in Europe
1 l Water
coarse saltfor sprinkling
Who doesn’t love bread? Bread is part of a typical breakfast and supper. In the morning it’s a roll with jam, in the evening it’s a slice of bread with cold cuts or cheese – and probably with a pickle. It can also be also a popular snack for in between. How is a pretzel different from bread? A lot of people wonder how a soft pretzel is different from bread! The answer is that the dough is boiled before it is baked! Boiling the dough in a baking soda and water bath is the step in this recipe that gives this homemade Pretzel Bread it’s pretzel-y identity! If you love soft pretzels, you will love the dense, chewy dough and beautifully browned, salty crust of Laugenbroetchen, German pretzel rolls.
How to Make Pretzel Bread (Laugenbroetchen):
- Proof the dry active yeast (up to 20 grams; whatever the right amount is for the product you purchased) by stirring it into 200 ml lukewarm (about 110-115 °F) milk that contains 1 tablespoon of sugar, then let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes. The yeast will form a bubbly layer on top. If this does not happen, wait longer to check whether your dry active yeast is still alive.
- Put the flour, salt and butter into a bowl and briefly mix. You can use a food processor with a dough blade attachment or you can also prepare the dough by hand.
- Slowly stir in the milk, sugar, active yeast mixture to the flour, salt and butter mixture, then add 100 ml water. Next, form and knead the mixture into a dough (this takes about 8-10 min with a food processor, alternatively knead the mixture by hand for ~20 min). Add a little extra water (a few drops) or flour (less than a teaspoon at a time), if necessary. The dough needs to become smooth and elastic (and no longer sticky).
- Place the dough into a bowl, cover it with a clean moist kitchen towel, and put it at a warm place for at least an hour (maybe this requires two hours or longer; some people do this overnight in the fridge ) for the dough to rise. The dough size should at least double during this time.
- Cut the soft dough up with a sharp knife and shape them into rolls or pretzels (any shape or size you like). If appropriate, do this on a very lightly floured surface. Quickly score the rolls on top, like a baguette, with a sharp knife, if you like. Optional: put the rolls or pretzels uncovered into the fridge for an hour, which apparently helps to create a crust.
- Heat 1 liter of water in a stainless steel pan after mixing the water with the 60 grams of baking soda and bring it all to a boil.
- Dip the rolls or pretzels into the boiling soda water for about 30 seconds (for a maximum of a minute), turn them upside down and leave them in the boiling soda water for another 30 seconds. I use a slotted spoon for this and do this one by one. Then, carefully take them out, let them briefly drip (hold the roll in the slotted spoon over the pan or a plate covered with paper towel), and then place them onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Don’t touch the rolls or pretzels after dipping them into the baking soda water and keep them off any aluminum surface.
- Sprinkle the rolls or pretzels with coarse salt (some people also like cumin) and bake them in the middle of the preheated oven at ~430 °F (~220 °C) for 13-16 minutes (or as long as they take) until they are nice and brown. Cool them off on a cooling rack and enjoy!