Yeast Breads

Bavarian Soft Pretzels


Prep Time : 1 Hour total | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 5 hours | Difficulty : A bit fiddly

Hello my lovelies! Because I’ve been a bit off schedule with my busy July and my parents visiting this is a super fresh weekend bread project. If I’d known that pretzels would be this easy I would have been making them for years! Sure it’s a bit of fiddly work to poach them but it only takes a few minutes and most of the time you’re doing something else while the dough is chilling out. These are soft chewy pretzels not the hard crunchy kind. Fluffy inside and darkly chewy on the outside. Sprinkled with a constellation of salty goodness.

This recipe is very close to the original with a few tweaks for convenience. I’ve gone with the all in one day option because sometimes waiting till tomorrow is just not feasible to my belly but you can extend the time chilling the shaped pretzels in the fridge overnight then go straight into poaching and baking when you’re ready. The knack of shaping takes a bit of practice but by the end of a batch you’ll be sorted!

Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Stir the honey into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over. Leave to one side until it’s all foamy on top.

Melt the butter and add it to the dry ingredients along with the yeast mixture.

Mix to a dough and the turn out onto a clean bench. The dough will be sticky for a while but don’t be tempted to add extra flour.

Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic – about 8 to 10 minutes. If you get frustrated with sticking take a break and wash your hands before getting back into it.

Pop the dough into a clean bowl, cover and leave until doubled in size – about an hour.

Divide the dough into 12 even sized pieces and roll each into a rope about 20cm long. We are going to roll them in two steps to make it easier. As you roll the dough will start to resist you and try to spring back. Giving the pieces a rest in between makes it much easy to get the ropes nice and long.

Roll each rope even longer – to about 40 to 50 cm long. Now we need to shape (tie, fold?) our pretzels. Take an end in each hand and cross one over the other to make a loop.

Fold the end that is lying on the bottom over the one on top to make a twist.

Now fold that twist away from you over the top of the loop so the ends of the rope are now resting on the far side of the loop.

Press the ends gently down to stick them to the rest of the pretzel. Transfer the formed pretzel to a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Cover the tray loosely with plastic wrap and leave the pretzels out at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes pop the covered tray into the fridge for at least an hour and a half and up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking heat the oven to 200C (395F). Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a tablespoon of baking soda for every litre (quart) of water. It will fizz up when you add the soda – just give it a quick stir to make it settle. When the water is simmering adjust the heat to keep it there.

Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon slip the pretzels about 3 at a time into the simmering water. Poach them for 30 seconds on one side then flip them and poach for 30 seconds more.

Scoop them out and lay them on the prepared wire rack. Repeat until all the pretzels are poached.

Sprinkle coarse salt over the pretzels and making sure they are well drained and fairly dry on the bottom, transfer them to a clean baking sheet and pop them in the oven. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until they are dark reddish brown. You’ll need to cook them longer than you think you should – the colour should be your guide.

Remove the tray from the oven and leave the pretzels for a few minutes before gently giving them a jiggle to release them from the tray.

Leave the pretzels to cool until they are a safe temperature for human consumption and then dig in!

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Bavarian Soft Pretzels


Prep Time : 1 hour | Cook Time : 30 mins | Total Time : 5 hours | Difficulty : A bit fiddly

Makes : 12 medium pretzels

Soft yeasted pretzels with a chewy salt studded exterior.

Ingredients:

  • 3 + 1/3 cups (500 grams) strong bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (15 grams) fine salt
  • 1 + 1/4 cups (300 mls) tepid water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • about 1/4 cup baking soda for poaching
  • coarse salt for sprinkling.

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowls and spoons
  • Large non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel is ideal)
  • Slotted spoon and wire racks
  • Rimmed baking sheet

Directions:

Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Stir the honey into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over. Leave to one side until it’s all foamy on top.

Melt the butter and add it to the dry ingredients along with the yeast mixture.

Mix to a dough and the turn out onto a clean bench. The dough will be sticky for a while but don’t be tempted to add extra flour.

Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic – about 8 to 10 minutes. If you get frustrated with sticking take a break and wash your hands before getting back into it.

Pop the dough into a clean bowl, cover and leave until doubled in size – about an hour.

Divide the dough into 12 even sized pieces and roll each into a rope about 20cm long. We are going to roll them in two steps to make it easier. As you roll the dough will start to resist you and try to spring back. Giving the pieces a rest in between makes it much easy to get the ropes nice and long.

Roll each rope even longer – to about 40 to 50 cm long. Now we need to shape (tie, fold?) our pretzels. Take an end in each hand and cross one over the other to make a loop.

Fold the end that is lying on the bottom over the one on top to make a twist.

Now fold that twist away from you over the top of the loop so the ends of the rope are now resting on the far side of the loop.

Press the ends gently down to stick them to the rest of the pretzel. Transfer the formed pretzel to a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Cover the tray loosely with plastic wrap and leave the pretzels out at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes pop the covered tray into the fridge for at least an hour and a half and up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking heat the oven to 200C (395F). Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a tablespoon of baking soda for every litre (quart) of water. It will fizz up when you add the soda – just give it a quick stir to make it settle. When the water is simmering adjust the heat to keep it there.

Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon slip the pretzels about 3 at a time into the simmering water. Poach them for 30 seconds on one side then flip them and poach for 30 seconds more.

Scoop them out and lay them on the prepared wire rack. Repeat until all the pretzels are poached.

Sprinkle coarse salt over the pretzels and making sure they are well drained and fairly dry on the bottom, transfer them to a clean baking sheet and pop them in the oven. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until they are dark reddish brown. You’ll need to cook them longer than you think you should – the colour should be your guide.

Remove the tray from the oven and leave the pretzels for a few minutes before gently giving them a jiggle to release them from the tray.

Leave the pretzels to cool until they are a safe temperature for human consumption and then dig in!

Cook’s Notes:

  • Shape these pretzels to suit how you want to eat them – if you want to pull bits off and dip them in condiments then make your ropes of dough long and thin and make the pretzels loosely, if you want to use the like a bun and stuff with delicious things shape the pretzels more snugly.
  • You can sprinkle the tops with whatever you like – a combination of salt and sesame seeds is a classic variation.

 – These pretzels will stay soft and chewy if kept in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 days – freeze in a zip lock bag for longer keeping – 

Adapted from Local Breads by Daniel Leader.

© 2018 Wellington Bakehouse. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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