Soft Bavarian Beer Pretzels

Happy New Year!

Ziggy zaggy, ziggy zaggy!

Oy oy oy!

Ziggy zaggy, ziggy zaggy…

This time every year, the universal toast to health and well-being is heard while celebrating at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  More than 6 million attend the city’s celebration making it the largest bier festival in the world!

It goes without saying, the perfect sidekick for your ice cold stein of bier is a classic giant Bavarian soft pretzel (Brezel).  These dark brown pretzels are soft, salty, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside!  Relax, this recipe is easy to make, but you’re curious about using baking soda?  The baking soda mixture is the key to a pretzel’s smooth and shiny brown exterior that we all love!  So delicious, you probably won’t miss the bier!

For the Pretzel Dough:

1 cup milk + 1/2 cup beer, warmed to 110 to 115 degrees

1 tablespoons barley malt or brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

5 cups bread flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

8 cups water

1/3 cup baking soda

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Melted butter, optional

1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Directions:

Combine milk, beer, and sugar in a microwave-safe container and heat to 110-115 degrees.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to foam.

 When cooled, add oil to milk and yeast mixture after the yeast mixture has proofed/foamed.

In a large bowl to a stand-up mixer, add flour and salt, mix with dough attachment until combined.  Add the milk/yeast mixture and continue to knead for 5 minutes on medium-low speed.  The dough will form a smooth ball that’s quite firm.  If the dough is too dry to come together, add more water, adding 1 teaspoon at a time.  If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Using two 12-by-17-inch baking sheets, greased or lined with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a clean, dry surface.  Roll out dough into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough, using a pizza cutter, into twelve, 14-inch-long strips, each about 1 inch wide. Working with one piece at a time, form dough into desired shapes and sizes (see picture). Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel, rest for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, combine the water, brown sugar, and baking soda in a large, wide pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer pretzels, one at a time (or two smaller pretzels) about 30 seconds each, holding them under the water using a wide slotted spoon. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt, poppy seeds or cinnamon sugar.

Bake about 5 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and bake until deep brown, about 5 to 7 minutes more.

Transfer to a wire rack, cool slightly.  You can brush with melted butter if you wish at this point or serve with spicy brown mustard, honey mustard or spicy honey mustard sauce for dipping.  Serve warm or freeze for later.

Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon or spicy brown mustard

3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon pickle juice

Stir together and serve.

Prost, Cheers!

Eileen~

R

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