Soft Pretzels; a signature German recipe with a golden brown crunchy crust and soft interiors, this is a MUST-HAVE for Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest is here and everyone needs a good German Pretzel recipe with the chilled beer. Even if you are a teetotaler or do not celebrate Oktoberfest, pretzels are perfect for tailgating parties, a casual snack or an appetizer. Served with a variety of sauces, these soft pretzels are actually super easy to make.
I have had pretzels in many places and not liked them. However, the first time I fell in love with them was when I tasted them at a German Restaurant in Boston. The perfectly golden crust studded with sea salt that gave way to the softest insides I have ever tasted. And they served it with a SPICY Ranch sauce that made me love every bite of the appetizer.
Since then I have been wanting to make them at home and have a dozen. But again, just like bagels; these need a soda bath to get the crust and I was super unsure of how it would go. Finally, when our lovely hostess for this month Wendy who blogs at A Day In The Life On The Farm selected the theme International Breads; I HAD to make this one.
I was still doubting the outcome and sat in front of the oven watching the pretzels brown. If only I had taken a time lapse of the whole thing! The pretzels came out PERFECT, golden and crisp on the outside and super soft inside. I served these with sriracha based buttermilk ranch sauce and it was a perfect combination.
What is OktoberFest?
This is the world's largest Beer festival and travelling funfair. Celebrated annually in Bavaria, Munich and Germany, this folk festival sees over 6 million attendees each year. This festival is generally celebrated for 16 days; the last day being the first Sunday in October. In 2017 it begins on September 16, now just 4 days away!
The visitors to the festival enjoy a variety of things like BEER, amusement rides, side stalls and games. There is also a wide variety of traditional foods including roast chicken and pork, grilled ham hock and fish, sausages, pretzels, potato or bread dumplings, cheese noodles, potato pancakes, Sauerkraut or red cabbage and Bavarian delicacies as spicy cheese-butter spread and white sausage. [source: Wikipedia]. So given how popular Laugenbrezel are in Oktoberfest, I decided to make them for this month.
Why is there a Soda Bath?
All bagels and pretzels, and few other breads seem to have a soda bath before baking. Wondering why? Without going into the details and chemical reactions, here is a simple way to understand that.
If you taste a bagel and a bread, you will clearly understand how the bagel has a rubbery, crunchy top compared to the soft crumbly texture of most other breads. This signature topping comes as a result of a soda bath, a reaction that gives these bakes a distinct brown skin.
Though this was something I was scared of, I tried it for the pretzels and it worked out pretty well. So it is really not as difficult as it sounds. It is pretty simple and quick.
So wait no further, just head straight to the recipe and make it for the upcoming Oktoberfest, Tailgating parties or just as a snack. You will not be disappointed, I promise!
For the Pretzel
All purpose Flour 3 ½-4 cup
Water 1 ½ cup
Instant or Active Dry Yeast 1 sachet (2 ¼ tsp)
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 1 tbsp
Coarse Sea salt to sprinkle
For the soda bath
Baking Soda ½ cup
Water 10 cups
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In a bowl heat 1 ½ cup water with salt and sugar. Mix well and add yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 4-5 minutes.
In the base of a stand mixer or a large bowl mix together 3 cups flour, bloomed yeast and water and unsalted butter.
Mix together till it comes together as a soft dough. If it is very sticky, add ½ cup flour. Use as much dough as required to form a smooth soft dough. Cover and let it rise for 10 -12 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 F/ 320 C. Line a cookie tray with a baking sheet and set aside.
Also, prepare the soda bath by boiling the soda and water mixture. Keep a slotted spoon ready.
Once the dough has risen, divide it into nine or ten equal parts. Using each part roll out a long rod of about 20-22 cm length. Then fold it into a knot, sealing the edges over the base.
Drop the pretzel into the boiling soda bath and remove using a slotted spoon in 20-30 seconds. Leaving them any longer will give them a metallic taste.
Place them on the baking tray and sprinkle coarse sea salt on them. Bake for 12-14 minutes, till the crust is golden brown.
Remove and serve with mustard, ranch or a spicy ranch sauce made by mixing Sriracha sauce and Ranch dressing.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the International Breads (any bread other than that from your home country) that our fellow #BreadBakers have baked this month:
- Apfelpfannkuchen (Apple Pancake) from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Auvergne Crown from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Bauernbrot from All That's Left Are The Crumbs
- Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys from Spill the Spices
- Boule from Bread Therapy
- Chilli and Coriander Scones from Sizzling Tastebuds
- Dutch Tiger Bread (Tijgerbolletjes)from Baking Sense
- Epi di Pan - Wheat Wreath from Sara's Tasty Buds
- Franzbrotchen - German Cinnamon Rolls from Gayathri's Cook Spot
- German Soft Pretzels (Laugenbrezel) from Hostess At Heart
- German Soft Pretzels from Herbivore Cucina
- Kardemummabullar - Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Ambrosia
- Pita Bread from Sneha'sRecipe
- Pletzel - Onion Poppyseed Flatbread from Cook's Hideout
- Pretzel Bites from My Cooking Journey
- Savoury Kugelhopf from The Mad Scientist's Kitchen
- Slovak Bread Rolls (Rozky) from Mayuri's Jikoni
- Whole Wheat Pita bread from Sonlicious
- Yemeni Kubaneh - Buttery Rolls from Food Lust People Love