In the past few years, I've had the good fortune to becoming friends with a handful of lovely German women (yay for the Internet!), and, as a result, have become increasingly interested German culture, politics and cuisine. I'm sure my family could do less with me talking about proportional representation in the Bundestag, but they put up with it if I make them Schnitzel, Spätzle, or the all-around favorite, Pretzels (or Brezeln).
Like most yeasted bread products, these need to be kneaded and have time to rise, but if you have the time (and aren't near a German bakery where you can just get them easy-peasy) they're totally worth it. Also, the boiling + bake method that gives pretzels their unique texture it quick and fun to do!
[NB: These are a little underdone in the photos. Proper pretzels should be a more uniform golden brown like the top one in the trio above, but I was in a hurry to get these on the table for supper. Don't try to blog your dinner before you eat it folks. ]
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Makes 6 Pretzels (can be doubled)
- 1 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 packet quick-rise yeast (1/4 oz)
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter, diced into small pieces.
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup lager or pale ale
In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Let still until mixture becomes foamy. Using a dough whisk or sturdy wooden spoon, add the flour, salt and butter, stirring until the mixture becomes shaggy. It's okay if not all the butter is worked in yet, the kneading will take care of that.
Roll up your sleeves and turn out your dough onto a floured work surface. Vigorously knead your dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a clean bowl and cover with a damp towel, letting it rise until doubled in size. (You can do this overnight in the fridge, or on a warm spot on your counter).
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all cooking water ingredients in a large pot and set to boil.
Roll out the dough into a long rectangle and cut it into 6 long strips, about an 1" wide each.
Roll/stretch each strip until it forms a coil about 34" long (I measure them by the length between my fingertips and shoulder joint). Form each coil into a "U", twist the tops, and the press the ends down onto the bottom of the U.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment and reduce cooking water to a simmer. Boil pretzels one at a time by lowering it gently into the water with a slotted spoon. Remove the spoon and let pretzel cook for about 30 seconds. The pretzel will float to the top as it cooks. remove pretzel with spoon and place on prepared baking sheet. [NB: The cooking water will form a foam as you cook the pretzels, just scoop it off as needed.]
Sprinkle the pretzels with your salt of choice.
Bake the pretzels for about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Let them get nice and golden brown (see note in post).
Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve warm with mustard and enjoy with the rest of that beer!
Adapted from Olivia's Cuisine
To print, see button at bottom of post.
Homemade Soft PretzelsServes 6 Ingredients: 1 cup warm (not hot) water 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar 1 packet quick-rise yeast (1/4 oz) 3 1/4 cups bread flour 1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter, diced into small pieces. 8 cups water 1/2 cup baking soda 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/2 cup lager or pale ale
A good biscuit should be flakey, buttery, and easy to get on the table. These biscuits use a fun folding technique to build-up those important layers and is, in my opinion, easier than rolling them out. If you're quick (i.e. you don't have a four-year-old helping with every step) you can get these in the oven quicker than you can pre-heat it.
Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes approximately 12 biscuits
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour (plus more for shaping)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk, cold (if you don't have buttermilk, add 2 Tbl lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. With a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture, until it resembles slightly damp sand. Add milk and mix about 15 times, until mixture is combined, but dough is still loose.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and pat into a 8 inch by 8 inch square about a 1/2 inch thick. Fold dough in half once, and then in half again, then pat back out to square. Repeat folding and patting another three times.
With a floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, making sure not to twist as you push the cutter down or pull it up. Reshape remaining dough and cut out remaining biscuits.
Place biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Serve warm with gravy, butter, jam, or, my personal favorite, honey.