10/13/2011 10:06:00 PM

Check it out! I baked my own pretzels! Yay!  (Hehe, and I just realised that I have three posts in a row with a pretzel as the first picture!)

The week before PORKTOBERFEST II, I was undecided as to whether I'd bake pretzels.  I really, really wanted some freshly baked Bavarian deliciousness, but I just wasn't sure if I'd have time on the day.  But then I saw a recipe for them in Gourmet Traveller, and that made up my mind for me.  (The recipe is here, on the Gourmet Traveller website).

I know you can buy pretzels here, but they're never really impressive.  I'd say Lueneburger or Brezel Biz are the best you can buy in Melbourne, but I'm still not super-keen on them.  Whilst I think they're made reasonably well, pretzels are only really good when they're fresh out of the oven.  After they've been sitting around for a few hours, you may as well not bother.  And this is where home-made pretzels will always have the edge over store-bought ones, no matter how rough and ramshackle they are.  (Oh, how I miss Grimminger bakery, and their constant stream of hot pretzels, baked throughout the day!)

I made and kneaded the dough the night before and let it have a slow rise in the fridge overnight.

Early on the morning of the party, I got rolling!  (You may remember the last time I made pretzels, with Duncan and Thanh, I struggled to roll the dough out into long sausage shapes, but this time I had no such trouble - woo!)

You'll see from the first picture in this post that my pretzels were quite thick - I didn't think they'd expand so much; next time I'd definitely roll them thinner.

Traditionally the pretzels are poached in a solution of lye (AKA caustic soda) before being baked, to give them their characteristic colour and taste.  Gourmet Traveller's recipe, however, has a much simpler poaching liquid: water and baking soda.  Much easier for home cooks!

Raw on the left, poached on the right

Brushed with egg-yolk glaze
And the final touch before baking: a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.  The recipe suggests using sea salt flakes (like Maldon or Murray River), but that's just a bit wrong.  You need big chunks of salt, the type that you might put in a salt grinder.

And before you worry about excess salt consumption, remember that in Germany, people just rub off the excess salt with their fingers before eating.

Ooh look - they split just like real pretzels do!

I also loved the pretty patterns they left on the baking paper.

Don't you just love this pretzel bread-bag? I got it at Tchibo in Germany, and thought it was sooo super-cute!  Love!

The pretzels were really easy (all the kneading was done in a mixer), and so lovely fresh out of the oven.  I think I'll be baking these a lot from now on!

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  1. This is inspiring stuff - I think I'm going to give this a go when I get the time (maybe...2013? Haha.) I love that there is a bag dedicated solely to carrying pretzels!

  2. This is just awesome. Your place would have been been smelt amazing that day.

  3. I've been craving pretzels for the past few days after walking past the German bakery in Syd. You're not helping ;) lol
    Its like the pretzels are talking to me! Maybe I'll just have to satisfy it by giving these a go.

  4. I have always wanted to make these! You make it look easy :)

  5. Yuuum. :) My mum went through a phase of baking pretzels at home and she topped them with rock salt and caraway seeds - SUCH a delicious combination. I'm not sure if the caraway's traditional but I love it.

  6. Making these with cinnamon sugar for breakfast tomorrow. NOM!



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