There was a time when I made pretzels on a regular basis, but for some reason I haven’t made them in ages. But since we’re in the midst of Oktoberfest I thought it appropriate to get into the kitchen, fire up the mixer, and experiment with one of my favorite Bavarian treats. Liz and I were set one creating a traditional pretzel and our first batch based on a recipe from one of my Bavarian Recipe books was a disaster (imagine pretzels that tasted like crackers…yes that bad).
Fueled by anger and hunger, we went back into the kitchen, wrote another recipe, and came up with pretzels that are slightly moist with a perfect texture. One unique aspect of this recipe is that we added barley malt syrup to the baking soda bath the pretzels receive prior to baking which gives the crust subtle sweet notes that are of course balanced with the salt topping. I’d love to say that we showed restraint, but these pretzels were so tasty that all were gone in less than 24 hours.
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp barley malt syrup
- Coarse salt
- Combine the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the flour, sugar, and kosher salt.
- Fire up the mixer on low. When loose flour is no longer present, add the melted butter and continue to mix on low for another 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixer, form it into a ball, and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size (this should take around 2 hours or so).
- When the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- On a silicon pad (or whatever is handy), divide the dough into 10 separate pieces.
- Using your hands roll each piece of the dough so it forms a long rope with a thicker center.
- Form the desired pretzel shape (we also made a few pretzel rolls).
- Place the pretzels on a baking sheet with a silicon pad or parchment paper on it, cover and allow the pretzels to rise for 15-20 minutes.
- While the pretzels are rising bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and barley malt syrup. Stir and reduce heat to low.
- One at a time, carefully drop the pretzels into the baking soda/barley malt syrup solution for about 5 seconds. Using a spatula gently remove and return each pretzel to the baking sheet. Immediately top with a light dusting of coarse salt.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the pretzels for 10 minutes or until golden in color.
- Allow the pretzels to cool on a rack for a few minutes and then enjoy!
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