Thursday, October 13, 2011


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!


hungryandfrozen said...

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!

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

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

Nic@diningwithastud said...

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.

Adrienne said...

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

digibron said...

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.

Cass @foodmyfriend said...

Making these with cinnamon sugar for breakfast tomorrow. NOM!