This recipe makes delicious soft German style pretzels.
Lye is the secret to truly great pretzels. It gives them their distinctive flavour. You can order lye on Amazon. You have to be very careful when handling it. Use protective gloves and a stainless steel bowl for dipping. Do not get any on your skin. Wear goggles and preferably a face mask. Do not breathe in the fumes or allow contact with your eyes.
If you’d prefer, you can make concentrated baking soda for the dipping. Spread a layer of soda on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake it at 135C/ 275F for one hour. Handle the concentrated baking soda with care, too. It’s not as strong as the lye, but it can irritate your skin.
You can find malt syrup at your local homebrew store.
These can be baked, frozen, and reheated in the oven later. If you do this, do not add the pretzel salt until the reheating.
Makes 12 large pretzels
1.25 kg/ 2 lb 4 oz flour (preferably bread)
15g/ ½ oz instant dry yeast
625g/ 1 lb 6 oz water
65g/ 2 ¼ oz butter, soft, cubed
30g/ 1 oz malt syrup
25g/ ¾ oz + ½ Tbsp salt
cooking spray, as needed
455g/ 1 lb water, 41C/ 105F
20g/ ¾ oz + ½ Tbsp lye
pretzel salt or coarse salt, for sprinkling
In a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine flour and yeast. Then add water, butter, malt syrup, and salt. Mix on low for 2 minutes, then medium for 6 minutes.
Remove dough, cover, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Cut dough into 16og/ 5 ½ oz pieces rectangles. Let rest 5-10 minutes, covered.
Fold top edge of dough to middle. Gently press down. Then fold the top edge to the bottom edge. Press down, seeing the edges together.
Seam side down, roll the dough under your palms starting from the centre until it is about 76cm/ 30″ long, with it thicker in the center. If the dough is tight or tearing roll it part of the way, let it rest, then finish rolling it out.
Twist the ends together once. Then bring the ends over and attach them on either side of the thick center, pressing gently to seal. Transfer to cooking sprayed parchment lined sheet.
Leave covered for 30 minutes, until dough gives slightly when touched.
Refrigerate 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 245C/ 475F.
For the lye bath add 41C/ 105F to lye in a wide stainless steel bowl.
Allow pretzels to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Dip pretzels in solution. Transfer to parchment sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on racks.