I found many Pretzel recipes that used a lot of butter, some used oil and others had eggs but I felt that the more authentic version would be one without any of these. The original Pretzels were, after all treats, doled out to well behaved little boys sitting through long and boring sermons and I somehow do not see the clergy rewarding good behaviour with brioche!
Alright, I’ll come clean. The real reason I chose this recipe is that I can do without butter and eggs in my breads. I also chose to top my Pretzels with a mixture of white and black sesame seeds and not sea salt simple because I didn’t have it. So I increased the salt in my dough by half a teaspoon.
Laugenbrezel (German Style Soft Pretzels) With Sesame Seeds
(Adapted from MyRecipes )
2 1/4 tsp dried active yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup warm milk
3 cups + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
6 cups water
2 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp cornmeal or semolina
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm milk and allow that to stand for about 5 minutes.
Add the 3 cups flour and salt to the proofed yeast and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. The dough will feel slightly sticky, so add a bit of flour as and when necessary while kneading. This should take about 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover and allow the dough to rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Deflate the dough, cover and let it rest 5 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal portions.
Work with one portion at a time and cover remaining dough to prevent it drying. Roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).
Put the 6 cups of water and baking soda in a non-aluminium pan and bring to a boi. Turn down the heat and simmer. Gently lower a pretzel into the simmering water. Cook on each side for about 15 seconds. The pretzel will swell/ puff up a bit. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a greased wire rack. This will prevent the pretzel from sticking to the rack. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
Place the pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 220C (425F) for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm with a dip of your choice or just plain. They’re best eaten fresh, and on the same day. This recipe makes 12 Pretzels.
I had made Pretzels, once before, and a very long time ago but I don’t remember being so happy with the way they turned out or tasted. We liked these Pretzels very much, and they were so easy to make.
They were nice and brown, even though I didn’t use egg wash on them. They were really soft, yet mildly chewy and the sesame seeds added their own dimension. It might be the boiling in the baking soda solution that was responsible for an almost butter-like after taste in these Pretzels.
You can serve them with a mustard based dip or a spicy herbed cheese dip, but I thought they were best plain. Oh yes, and a cup of hot tea to dunk them in!
I shall update the list of the others doing this month's challenge as and when they do post on their blogs.
The four of us (Alessio, Asha, Pamela and I) go velveteering , as we like to call our kitchen adventures, with a new dish/ style of cooking/ cuisine every month. Each of us will share our recipes, experiences and verdicts on our blogs.
If you would like to join us, please leave a comment at this post or send me a mail and we’ll get back to you.
This month’s Velveteers recipes:
Asha : Raisin Laugen Broetchen (Raisin Pretzel Buns) for Velveteers