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- 17.6 ounces all-purpose flour
- ½ ounce instant yeast
- 3 ½ ounces sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus a dash for the egg wash*
- 1 cup milk
- Oil, for greasing
- 1 egg
Put the flour, instant yeast, sugar, butter, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Mix ingredients together in an electric mixer on slow for 5 minutes. Begin by adding only ¾ cup of the milk, and then continue to add the remainder, little by little, until the dough is smooth. If the dough gets too sticky, you’ve added too much milk, in which case you can add a little extra flour to compensate.
Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. As soon as the dough is nice and smooth and doesn’t stick to the bowl, it’s ready.
Lightly oil your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Use a bench knife to divide up the dough cleanly into 3-ounce segments. Roll the segments into little balls. Then, roll all the dough balls into 6-inch strips. Then, roll them into thinner 12-inch strips. (Rolling the dough in two sets prevents the dough from cracking.)
To shape the dough strips into brezel shapes, first form the strips into a "U" shape. Hold the ends of the "U" and gently cross them over each other to the opposite bottom side, twisting them once as they cross. Press each end firmly on each opposite bottom to secure the shape. Place the brezels on a tray lined with parchment paper.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap, making sure not to press down on the dough. Lay the plastic over the brezels, without securing it to the edges of the pan.
Place the tray in a warm spot and let the brezels rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 410-420 degrees. (Since oven temperatures can vary, it may be necessary to later adjust the temperature setting within this range to keep the brezels from browning too quickly or unevenly.)
Once the brezels have proofed, crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a dash of salt. Then brush brezels lightly and evenly with the egg wash.
Place the brezels in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Making pretzels at home
Making a traditional soft pretzel at home can be done in much the same way as at a professional bakery: Mix the dough, leave to ferment, shape, dip in an alkali bath, and then bake. While there's a variety of ways to shape pretzels, which we'll look at later, the part that sometimes separates the home baker from the professional baker is the way they prepare the alkali bath: When making pretzels at home, most use common baking soda, whereas many bakeries use lye (caustic soda) for the bath.
Lye is a strong alkali that can be dangerous if misused, but it's lye that enhances the Maillard reaction on the outside of the dough. This reaction gives each pretzel a chewy crust, mahogany color, glossy sheen, and that unmistakable pretzel flavor typical of a German soft pretzel.
Using a baking soda bath, which isn’t nearly as caustic as lye, produces a similar result, but not nearly at the same intensity. The exterior crust will still be somewhat soft the coloring looks brown rather than deep mahogany there's far less of a sheen on the crust and the typical pretzel flavor is there, just not at the same magnitude.
Even though each approach to the alkali bath results in a different outcome, both styles taste quite delicious. Let's take a look at each method for preparing a pretzel bath. You can decide which works for your kitchen.
Making pretzels at home with a lye bath
Traditional German pretzels are first dipped in a 3% to 4% lye-to-water bath before baking. Pretzel purists often argue a pretzel isn't really a pretzel unless lye is used.
The pretzels shown above were dipped in a 4% lye solution using the process outlined in BREAD, by Jeffrey Hamelman, before being scored, salted, and then baked at 450°F. As you can see, they baked to a beautiful mahogany color with a glistening crust.
Let's acknowledge: lye can be a little scary. It is highly corrosive, after all, but with the right preparation and a careful approach, working with it isn't as daunting as you might think.
The process is straightforward. While wearing eye protection and rubber or latex gloves, mix 37g of lye powder/pellets into a bowl holding 4 cups ( 907 g) of cold water and stir to dissolve. Transfer your shaped pretzel to the bath for 10 to 15 seconds. Then remove the pretzel and place it on a steel rack over parchment paper to catch any excess solution. After a few minutes, transfer the dipped pretzel to a silicone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The dough can then be scored, salted, and baked.
Don't expect to find food-grade lye (100% sodium hydroxide) in grocery stores, but it's readily available online in the US.
Making pretzels at home with a baking soda bath
Using a baking soda bath is a common approach for home pretzel bakers. Baking soda is a staple of many baking recipes and it's a much weaker alkali. This means it's far less corrosive and safer to handle.
As you can see above, the resulting pretzels still looked great but they have less crust coloring and shine. Texturally, the interior was still quite chewy and soft. While the classic pretzel flavor was still detectable, it was not at the same intensity as the pretzels made with a lye bath.
The baking soda bath seen above follows King Arthur's Classic Pretzels recipe. In a large, wide pot, bring 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons baking soda to a boil. Then, transfer one shaped pretzel to the bath using a slotted spatula and let sit for 1 minute. Then move the pretzel to a cooling rack on top of parchment paper. This allows any excess solution to drip away.
After processing, transfer each pretzel to a baking sheet lined with silicone or parchment paper. Then, score (as seen below), salt, and bake.
Shaping classic pretzels
Now that we've discussed the differences between pretzel baths, how do we shape these beautiful little knots?
There are generally two methods for shaping pretzels into a traditional knot form:
In southwest Germany (Swabia), pretzels are usually shaped with an exaggerated bulge at the bottom accompanied by a large pretzel loop. Additionally, the crossed arms at the top of the pretzel are rolled very thin. The goal is to have a thick, soft area at one end, and delicate, crunchy bites at the other. This leads to a distinct contrast in texture between each end.
In Bavaria, pretzels taper less from the middle of the bulge to the crossed arms. This style emphasizes a consistent thickness all the way through. This constant thickness makes them perfect for slicing and making into a sandwich. Of course, they're also great for dipping.
My preference is for a pretzel that's a little more uniform throughout. As with many things in baking, shaping does take some practice. Once you become comfortable rolling out the dough to your desired thickness, the final twisting is a breeze.
First, preshape your dough into "cigars" and let them rest until slightly relaxed. Then, roll the dough out into a long strand as seen above. Next, lay the dough out in front of you in an upside-down "U" shape (upper left, above). Take the tip at the right side and fold it over the left.
Next, take the tip that's now on the right side and fold it over the left again (the second twist). Finally, fold the tips up to overlap the sides of the pretzel loop (lower right, above). Lightly press down the overlapping tips to encourage sticking.
Making pretzels at home: Which method should you choose?
After much testing, I was surprised to see how well my baking soda pretzels turned out. As a baker who typically likes to adhere to tradition, I was dubious at first, but using baking soda proved to be quite the acceptable alternative. While I do prefer using lye, for both taste and texture, I'd still be happy with the results using baking soda.
In the end, the choice between lye and baking soda is yours. If you’re wary about bringing lye into your kitchen, baking soda works well. And while you won’t have the same color, sheen, and texture, it still boils down (sorry!) to a delicious pretzel.
My advice with shaping is to try a different approach each time until you find one (or two) that you love. Sometimes it's nice to have thin "arms" for crunch. But then there are times when there's nothing better than a pretzel stuffed like a sandwich.
If you're looking for more information on making pretzels at home, and specifically when using lye as per tradition, look no farther than Hamelman's authoritative book, BREAD. As he states in his book, he made upward of thousands of pretzels a week – if there's anyone who knows pretzels, I daresay it's him.
Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pretzel Bars
Pulse the bread into fine crumbs using a food processor.
Note: if you forget to leave the bread out overnight, you can dry it out in a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt until combined. Press the crumbs into an even layer of a 9吉 pan greased with baking spray.
Bake bread crumb crust for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium pan over low heat, stir together sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
Pour chocolate mixture over baked crust and top with pretzels, gently pressing them into chocolate.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with a pinch of coarse sea salt, if desired.
Cool completely and then refrigerate or freeze until chilled and completely set. Once set, drizzle with caramel sauce in a lattice pattern. Alternatively, you can add pieces of caramels (alongside the pretzels) on top of the chocolate mixture at the start of the baking process.
We attribute our growth to providing quality snack products at fair prices to our consumers. Our products are distributed nationwide using a combination of our store door distribution system with direct delivery to grocery stores, a distributor network, and a vending and foodservice sales division. We also have a strong international business with sales on every continent except Antarctica.
From our humble beginnings to our position today as the leader of the pretzel industry and a major player in the snack food industry, we celebrate the efforts and innovations of our predecessors and their families and eagerly anticipate many more years of pretzel pride as we continue to be America’s favorite pretzel.
Harry Warehime began producing Olde Tyme Pretzels.
In the early 1920s, Grandma Eda and Edward Snyder II began frying potato chips in a kettle at their summer home, and they sold the snacks door-to-door, at fairs and farmer’s markets. Meanwhile, their son William V. and his wife Helen were making angel food cakes for local stores.
The family united forces as Snyder’s Bakery, where they made everything from angel food cakes to fresh noodles until the automated snack production process took over.
Modernization was underway in the 1940s with a new plant built on Lafayette and Granger Streets including an automated direct fire ferry fryer. William Snyder, E. Wise and H. Ness joined together to create the Potato Chip Institute to improve communication among competing “chippers”.
Snyder’s grew distribution south to Norfolk, VA, west to Pittsburgh, PA and north to New York as the company began using aluminum foil bags to extend the shelf life of products in these distant markets – it was a first for the industry, and a very practical innovation. A new plant in Berlin, PA was built to handle growing demand.
In 1950, the Berlin plant was sold to William’s sister and her husband, Edith and Clair “Barb” Sterner. Eleven years later, William’s son, William “Billy” L. Snyder, sold the Hanover plant to Hanover Canning, headed by Alan R. Warehime.
By the early 1960s, sales had reached about $400,000.
The Bechtel Pretzel Company, founded in 1947 by Bill and Helen Bechtel, was purchased and incorporated into Snyder’s Bakery. Bill developed the original recipe for the Sourdough Hard Pretzel that is still enjoyed by consumers today.
Michael Warehime, Alan’s youngest son, joined the company. He was named President and Chief Executive Officer in 1972 and Chairman of the Board in 1990. Our growth, new product development, and strong emphasis on quality in all that we do are attributed to Mike and his vision and leadership.
Nineteen years after Snyder’s was purchased, the Warehime family decided to “spin off” the Snyder’s of Hanover ® Snack Operation from Hanover Brands, enabling the companies to focus on their respective industries of snacks and vegetables. Snyder’s sales in 1980 were $15.8 million. After the split, both companies exploded, growing faster than industry averages.
California-style corn tortilla chips were added to Snyder’s snack line.
On Saturday, December 2, 1989, our flagship Hanover pretzel bakery burned to the ground when an overhead heater malfunctioned and fire started in the warehouse area. Fire departments from many surrounding communities fought the dramatic and overwhelming blaze. The “glow” could be seen in the night sky for miles around. It smoldered for several days. Fortunately, no one was injured. Pretzel production continued at the Granger Street facility. Our employees pulled together and completed a massive cleanup and the building was rebuilt and expanded regularly. Today, it is over 400,000 square feet and includes product processing, packaging, and warehousing as well as a large research and development laboratory.
Flavored pretzel pieces burst onto the market with Honey Mustard & Onion flavor, with Buttermilk Ranch and Cheddar Cheese following the year after.
Our Olde Tyme Pretzels, first made in 1909 by H.V. Warehime, took the Automatic Merchandiser’s Product of the Year Award.
Snyder’s revealed a sweet side, introducing milk chocolate and white chocolate pretzel Dips. Also, our facilities expanded including the development of the new Goodyear, Arizona plant and the Snyder’s headquarters completion.
Pumpernickel & Onion Pretzel Sticks were introduced. Only a year later, Health magazine included the sophisticated snack in its “Best of Food” awards.
In August of 2010 Snyder’s of Hanover ® introduced Certified Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks.
In 2011 Snyder’s of Hanover ® built a 26-Acre Solar field- the largest in Pennsylvania. It has over 15,000 pannels and generates enough energy to save roughly 30% of the energy costs in the factory and plant.
In September 2013 Snyder’s of Hanover ® introduced two new Certified Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks Flavors: Hot Buffalo Wing and Honey, Mustard & Onion.
Sweet and Salty Pretzel Pieces and Pretzel Spoonz are introduced.
In February 2015, Snyder’s of Hanover introduced Pretzel Poppers in 3 flavors.
Snyder’s of Hanover introduces Peanut Butter Filled Pieces and S’mores flavored Pretzel Pieces.
Snyder’s of Hanover enters the cracker category with New Wholey Cheese! line, available in three flavors.
Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten Free Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces are introduced.
History of Pretzels
Soft, salty, and downright delicious, pretzels are a popular snack in the United States, a standard at movie theaters and sports stadiums, often dipped into thick, yellow cheese. For many, a big doughy pretzel purchased on a street corner is part of the quintessential New York experience others will forever associate pretzels—slathered in butter or dusted with cinnamon-sugar—with a trip to the mall thanks to Auntie Anne’s.
The roots of the pretzel, however, lie across the Atlantic ocean in Southern Germany, where their history is rich, their serving options are seemingly endless, and the traditions surrounding them are deeply ingrained in the culture and cuisine.
Ursula Heinzelmann, Berlin-born food and wine writer and author of “Beyond Bratwurst, A History of Food in Germany,” explains that pretzels arrived in the U.S. along with “the enormous influx of ethnic German emigrants during the course of the 19th century. They brought everything with them that they knew.”
Today, she explains, the salty snack’s ubiquity on the streets of American cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago goes back to the strong German presence that’s been around since the 1820s. Thanks to industrialization, soft pretzel production spread quickly across the U.S., small, crunchy pretzels were invented, and they both became readily available in convenience stores and movie theaters throughout the country, just as they are today.
Back in Germany, however, the crusty, doughy pretzel is an integral part of daily life, whether it’s picked up at a bakery for breakfast or lunch or enjoyed at leisure with a beer. Since their invention in the early Middle Ages—the pretzel’s earliest known use as a baker’s coat of arms was in the year 1111—production has evolved from small scale bakers selling handmade goods on the streets to the enormous, machine-led factory operations that ensure pretzels can be obtained all over the country, day or night.
The true origins of Germany’s pretzels remain a mystery, though they do seem to have evolved from a ring-shaped Christian fasting dish that existed in Roman times. Do the three holes created by the twisted dough symbolize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or represent arms crossed across a believer’s chest in prayer? Were the loops inspired by the impatiently folded arms of a baker’s wife as her husband desperately attempted to invent a cake? Or are the twists and loops simply a convenient shape for hanging on a baker’s pole?
Classic soft German pretzels are traditionally made with wheat flour, malt, salt, baker’s yeast, water, and varying quantities of fat (usually vegetable fat) but occasionally butter or even lard. The dough is rolled into a long strand, pulled outwards so that it tapers at the ends, and then, using impressive-looking techniques that involve twisting and jerking both ends of the dough at 180 degrees, the two ends are pressed together to create the iconic knotted pretzel form. Making pretzels by hand is a dying craft, however, and in most bakeries today, looping machines have taken over the job.
Though they originated in southern Germany (as well as across its borders in Austria, Alsace and German-speaking Switzerland), pretzel production crept north of what Heinzelmann calls the Pretzel Belt, roughly halfway up the country, again thanks to industrialization. Today, soft pretzels are omnipresent across Germany, though “they are rarely handmade by traditional bakers in the North and more likely to be found in bakery chains or supermarkets,” she explains.
In the south of Germany, pretzels have traditionally been made in two main styles. In Swabia, an undefined region in the southwest of the country, they tend towards spindly, crispy arms, a crunchy knot and a fat dense body that is slashed on top with a knife. In the state of Bavaria, pretzels are more evenly formed and soft all over, with arms just about as thick as their belly. Before baking, however, they are all dipped in lye, a sodium hydroxide solution that gives them their glossy, chestnut brown crust and unmistakable alkali flavor.
Pretzels are usually sprinkled heavily with coarse grains of salt before they head into the oven, but poppy, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds are all common alternatives (and there’s nothing quite like a pretzel that’s been baked covered in Emmental cheese!). In Bavaria’s Upper Franconia region, aniseed is also popular in other parts of the state, weisse brezeln (“white pretzels”), untreated with lye, are strewn with caraway and salt.
One of Germany’s best known dishes is arguably Bavaria’s much-loved second breakfast: a soft pretzel accompanied by weißwurst (a white pork and veal sausage flecked with parsley and flavored with lemon, onion, and spices), sweet mustard, and a tall glass of wheat beer. In Bavaria’s world-famous beer gardens, pretzels are also enjoyed with obatzda, a strong, cheesy dip made with butter, hot paprika, and Camembert. Frankfurt is home to a milder, creamier version known as schneegestöber, also enjoyed with pretzels and glasses of sour flat apple cider named apfelwein. Swabians use the fat belly of a pretzel as a pocket, slicing all the way through to create a slightly precarious sandwich stuffed with all manner of fillings, from smoked salmon, ham or cheese to a thick layer of yellow butter with finely chopped chives. In Germany’s west-central Palatinate region, an area known for its very large, rustic plates of meat, pretzel fillings also include sliced blood sausage, liver sausage, and head cheese.
For those with a sweet tooth, the options don’t end here. Pretzels made with yeast dough are traditionally baked in Swabia on Palm Sunday and in other parts of western Germany, made in celebration of St. Martin’s Day. They’re sprinkled liberally with sugar crystals. In some parts of Germany, large, braided pretzels are baked to bring luck for the New Year: Created from a sweet milk or yeast dough, they’re scattered with almond flakes or glazed with sugar instead of being dipped in lye. Head to the Rhineland, to the west of the country and the holes of sweet pretzels are often filled with set yellow custard.
Pretzels do go stale very quickly, but there are various delicious solutions should your savory baked goods dry out. Traditional options include pretzel soup from the Palatinate region, a blend of veal stock, chopped vegetables, herbs, wine and cream, and garnished with pretzel croutons. More modern ideas include blitzing day-old pretzels into salty breadcrumbs or coarser chunks that can go into stuffing for festive roasts. To make pretzel dumplings, soak small pieces in milk and stir in sauteéd onions, chopped herbs, and seasonings before shaping the mixture into plump, round balls. Cook them gently in salted boiling water before browning the dumplings in butter, and serve with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Soup and dumplings might not work quite so well as a Superbowl snack, but they’d make a wonderful nod to the pretzel’s European origins as part of a savory German feast.
- 150 ml lauwarme Milch
- 80 g zerlassene Butter
- 200 g Schmand
- 1 Würfel Hefe
- 80 g Zucker
- 500 g Mehl
- Für die Garnierung
- 1 Vanilleschote
- 100 g Zucker
- ½ TL Zimt
- 50 g zerlassene Butter
- Die Milch, die Butter und den Schmand in eine große Schüssel geben, die Hefe dazu geben und gut verrühren. Den Zucker und das Mehl dazugeben und mit einem Handrührgerät zu einem glatten Teig verkneten. Kurz mit den Händen durchkneten, zurück in die Schüssel geben und abgedeckt ca. 1 Stunde an einem warmen Ort gehen lassen.
- Den Backofen auf 200°C Umluft vorheizen und 2 Backbleche mit Backpapier auslegen. Für die Garnierung die Vanilleschote längs einschneiden und das Mark herauskratzen. Das Vanillemark mit dem Zucker und dem Zimt vermengen und beiseitestellen.
- Den Teig auf einer bemehlten Arbeitsfläche kurz durchkneten und in 8 gleichgroße Teile teilen. Jedes Stück zu einer ca. 40 cm langen Rolle rollen und zu Brezeln formen. Die Brezel auf die vorbereiteten Backbleche geben. Etwas Milch und etwas zerlassene Butter vermengen und die Brezel damit bestreichen. Abgedeckt erneut ca. 30 Minuten gehen lassen.
- Die Martinsbrezel im vorgeheizten Backofen ca. 10-15 Minuten backen. Die Brezel mit der zerlassenen Butter bepinseln und in der vorbereiteten Zucker-Vanille-Zimt-Mischung wälzen. Nach Belieben abkühlen lassen oder noch warm genießen.
Tipps & Tricks
Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Spaß beim Nachmachen und Probieren!
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Martinsbrezel - Recipes
This page is under construction.
Skim this page for some links to our favorite recipes.
To find all the bread making directions and recipes for yeast and quick breads, check the Bread Baking Page or the Sourdough Page.
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I love to eat in-season produce. Even better is to eat the produce we have grown ourselves. I have several posts about growing, storing, and eating the produce we grow in our garden.
Lye Dipped Homemade Pretzels
The appreciation and love for Pretzels runs deep in my family. Given the fact that I’m 50% German and have spent some time in Germany AND the fact that these things are easy to make and go well with just about anything, Pretzels are one of those treats I like to make on the regular. Whenever family comes in to town, pretzels. Whenever it’s cold and I have some time to spare during the day, pretzels. Whenever I want to make a special treat for the kids, pretzels. Catch my drift?
These particular pretzels are especially simple to make and they are made with my no fail bread dough, and then dipped in a lye solution to create that perfectly authentic Bavarian crust that we crave in a Pretzel. Sprinkle in a little sea salt or bonafide pretzel salt and you have yourself the real deal with no sweat.
A word about pretzel crust
As with anything in life, there are a couple of different ways to go about doing something. In pretzels, it’s all about the crust. The traditional soft pretzels we all know and love get their crust from a dip in an alkaline solution. In terms of chemistry, an alkaline solution has a higher pH than that of regular water. The pH of neutral water is around 7. Most home bakers use baking soda in their homemade pretzel recipes which does increase the pH of the water up to 9, but using lye can take the pH all the way up to 14. The higher the pH, the better your crust will be for homemade pretzels.
So why dip in the first place? Well, it’s all about the browning. If you’re OK with a non-brown, non-shiny, bread like product then there’s no need to dip. You’ll basically have a breadstick with salt on it. Not a bad thing! However, if you want the brown sheen and a nice crust on your homemade pretzel then you need to dip it in a solution that is more basic than your tap water.
If you’re a little skiddish about using lye, there are options but I would encourage you to try the lye. There are many articles online that talk about the benefits of lye, but if you don’t want to use lye you’ll still get good results with baking soda/egg wash. Just keep in mind that using lye in your pretzel is really not dangerous if you pay attention. You can burn yourself with boiling water just as much as you can burn yourself with a lye bath, plus the lye solution is easier because it’s a simple dip and bake deal instead of boil, dry, egg wash, salt, then bake procedure.
To make this recipe, simply follow my no fail homemade bread recipe for the dough and follow the procedure for the pretzelling part as below.
Do the Prezel!
- Preheat your oven to 450˚F.
- Now that your dough is ready to go, lay it out on a floured surface and shape it like a disc, and cut in to 8 equal pieces (kind of like you would cut a pizza). Shape each piece like a ball and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- While the dough is relaxing, get a glass baking dish or plastic receptacle and add 1 liter of water, then carefully add 3 Tablespoons of lye. I use this ‘Red Devil’ food grade lye I got on Amazon. When I first started making lye dipped pretzels I used rubber gloves like these while working with the lye, and I encourage you to do the same.
- Use your spoon and gently mix the lye in to the water until it’s completely dissolved.
- After the dough balls have relaxed, roll them out like you’re shaping a Play-Doh snake about 14-18 inches long. If they spring back and shrink too much, let them relax for another 5 minutes and resume the snaking process.
- Shape in to a pretzel! This is the fun part and there are a few ways to do it but the easiest is to make a fish and fold the head over the tail. I know, it sounds complicated but it’s really an easy two part motion. If you are new to pretzel shaping, see my “how to shape a pretzel” video on YouTube or below.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- With your gloves on, dip the pretzels in your lye solution for about a minute. Remove from the lye and place on your baking sheet and sprinkle sea salt or pretzel salt on your pretzels.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and deliciously done.
I decided to try something new when making this batch so I made some peanut butter pretzel bites! Just flatten out a couple of the long ropes, smear peanut butter on one side of each, seal them up and cut. Dip, salt, bake and enjoy!
The baking soda and egg wash alternative
If you’re not up for using lye on your pretzels just yet, don’t fret! You’ll get amazing results by following this process too!
The Saint Martin’s Day is a celebrated through whole Germany. The traditions anyway vary from region to region. In the Bergische Land, where I live, and in the Rhineland, one tradition is to give a Weckmann to each child after the lantern procession. In other regions instead of this weckmann they get a Martinsbrezel (Martin’s pretzel).
I learned about these tradition quiet recently and did some researching then. And interestingly this tradition is rather wide spread and there are differnt kinds of pretzels. In some regions, they are topped with pearl sugar before baking while in other regions they are brushed with butter and turned in fine sugar after baking.
I decided to try the second variant. Due to the big amount of sugar decided to use only a small anount of sugar in the dough. And then these pretzel are big treat – they may not replace a weckmann in this house but are a good addition to them!