I remember going into the city while growing up in New York and seeing the street vendors with their carts cooking pretzels over coal. I always felt the need to have one. Then, back in 2012 I visited Germany and found that pretzels are a very common breakfast item. In fact, I think I have one every day for breakfast while I was there.
I like the Super Pretzels that can be found at ballparks or frozen in grocery stores, but they don’t compare to true Bavarian pretzels. Since it’s a bit too costly to go to Germany any time I want one, I decided to learn how to make them on my own.
Here are the ingredients:
3 tsp dry yeast (I use Fleishmann’s Instant Dry Yeast)
1/8 cup of warm water
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 1/2 cups sifted flour (I use high gluten)
2 tbsp food-grade lye (I use this one that I bought on Amazon.com)
Preheat the oven to 400F
In a bowl or mixer, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the 1/8 cup of warm water
Mix the 1/8 tsp of salt in the 4 1/2 cups of flour
Add the 1 1/3 cup of water to the yeast/sugar mixture
Add the salt flour mixture to the water
Hand or machine mix the dough
In a glass bowl, add the 2 tbsp of lye to 4 cups of water
When the dough is done mixing, cut it up into 4 1/2 oz portions (this should make 8 or 9 servings)
Roll each dough ball so that it is long and thin, then fold it into the shape of a pretzel
Once the pretzel is formed, drop it into the lye water (it should soak for 20-30 seconds)
While the pretzel is soaking, roll out and form the next one
Remove the soaking pretzel from the water and put it on a pizza screen
Add the next pretzel to the water
Repeat into all of the pretzels are complete
I like scoring the pretzels so that they open up a little bit.
Once they are scored, add some coarse sea salt. I actually used coarse Korean sea salt on mine.
When they are ready, place the pretzels in the oven and cook them for approximately 18 minutes.