Authentic German Pretzels
Member recipe

Authentic German Pretzels

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(7 ratings)

Member recipe by

Cooking time

Plus 5 hours fermenting

Servings

Serves 1 - 14 Breads

No recipe out there was authentic, so I developed my own and it is 100% authentic in colour, taste and texture.

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Ingredients

  • For The Dough
  • 1 kg Plain White Flour (around 9 - 12 % protein)
  • 260 ml milk (lukewarm)
  • 260 ml water (lukewarm)
  • 80 g Butter (unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp malt extract (liquid or dried, or brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp fast action dried yeast (or 42g fresh if using)
  • 2 tbsp Salt (unrefined)

  • For The Finishing Solution
  • 1 L Water
  • 3 tbsp Baking Soda (or lye if your using it)

  • For Topping
  • Unrefined salt (Rock/ sea salt) or cheese & ham cubes

Method

    1. Add 100g of flour flour, all the yeast and the water into a bowl. Mix, cover with cling-film and leave in a warm place for 5 hours + to create the yeast flavour. After that, add the rest of the flour, salt, milk, malt extract and melted butter. Mix and kneed the mixture to make a firm dough (around 10 minutes) and leave for approx 1 and a half hours or until a point pushed in gentle springs back.
    2. When ready, knock the dough back and start forming shapes. The easiest is to make batons around 2cm thick. If feeling adventurous, try the traditional shape. Roll the dough out to be a long (40 cm) rope with the middle 5cm bulged to a diameter of around 3 cm, tapering to the ends being around 0.75 cm thick. Bring the two ends together about 5 cm in, overlap them, twist, and bring back to go over the main body. Almost like tying a knot. Leave for 30 minutes uncovered in a warm room to rise and develop.
    3. In the meantime bring the 1.5 litres of water to the boil in a large pot (around 20cm diameter) and add the baking soda. If you can find food grade sodium hydroxide (lye) use that at 3-4 tbs per litre, but be VERY careful and DO NOT let children near it. ALWAYS wear gloves and eye protection, or do as I do and go nowhere near it!
    4. Once the dough has risen, place the trays next to a cold window with some wind blowing. A fan can be used if there is no breeze. This develops a skin on the pretzels which gives that special chewy texture. Once done drop the shaped dough into the boiling solution (one at a time) until they float (about 5 second), fish out with a fish slice (or similar) and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sea salt (lightly at first, you find your own taste preference later) and slash the dough to a depth of around 1cm in the thick part at the top-back. If you want to top with cheese, leave off the salt, and add the cheese once the pretzel is baked, so 5 to 10 minutes extra in the oven later.
    5. Add the baking sheets to the 200C oven for around 16 minutes, until a nice deep bready brown is seen on the pretzels. Don't go for gold or chestnut, go for brown, the flavour goes with it!
    6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. They taste good warm, but better when cooled and crisped. Great for eating with beer, on the go, with friends, or cut open and used as the base for cheese on toast.

Comments, questions and tips

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Comments

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moolooaba12's picture

Would this work just as well if I halved the quantity of ingredients? Not quite sure I could get through 14-20 pretzels before they went stale!

Diekatze117's picture

i would halve only the prep and main recipe the finishing solution should stay the same.

tuxette's picture

I made these today, but actually started the yeast mixture last night based on one of the tips. I also didn´t get the skin I was hoping for due to lack of wind. But otherwise, this is a great recipe and I will definitely use it again!

Benn Cordrey's picture

Great recipe, but isn't two tablespoons of salt in the dough too salty? Surely two teaspoons would be fine.

Benn Cordrey's picture

Great recipe, but isn't two tablespoons of salt in the dough too salty? Surely two teaspoons would be fine.

Benn Cordrey's picture

Great recipe, although surely the 2 tablespoons of salt in the dough is a typo, shouldn't it be teaspoons? If you're sprinkling salt on the top as well, wouldn't 2 tablespoons be too salty?

SugarMogill's picture

These came out very good. I made the dough formula exactly as specified, but played around with fermentation times and the boiling solution. After making up the dough, I immediately shaped half of the dough into pretzels and put them in the fridge for a 24 hour cold fermentation, uncovered. The other half of the dough was made following the proofing and make up as is written. Instead of lye or regular baking soda, I used homemade washing soda (made with pure baking soda), 125 grams of it with 2 liters of water and brought it to a simmer. When I was ready to bake, I put the pretzels in the simmering bath, 15 seconds on each side, removed them, egg-white washed, then salted them. They were baked at 400 Fahrenheit for 16 minutes. They came out very dark and crusty on the outside with perfect flavor and soft texture inside. The only thing I will change next time is the shape. I need to make the ropes thinner so that the pretzel is larger, with more openings and more surface area to get crusty. Mine were fat and they looked like pretzel buns! I did not have access to lye, which I feel is important to the authentic flavor, but the homemade washing soda solution seemed to work well. It was really easy to make and is a pH of about 11, versus plain baking soda, which has a pH around 8.

C.Reich's picture

Gave these a go and was so surprised when I bit into one, these are the real deal and tasted extremely authentic!
I substituted molasses for the malt extract instead of the brown sugar substitution and it worked well. This recipe is a keeper.

C.Reich's picture

Gave these a go and was so surprised when i bit into one, these are the real deal and are extremely authentic!
I also substituted molasses for the malt extract instead of using the brown sugar and it worked well. This recipe is a keeper.

carissac's picture
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I joined this website just so that I could comment on this recipe. These pretzels were amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! My husband spent the day making these and they have turned out perfect! Thank you for a great recipe.

lolabts's picture

ah what a find! anyway since I can't get malt or brown sugar can I use white sugar instead?

chris210's picture
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I always use liquid malt I buy from the health food shop. You need it to be as thick as treacle when it goes in. If you have to use dry use dark, mix in with the dry ingredients before the water is added.

thebrittanyjackson's picture

Hi Chris,

Just wondering if it matters what type of malt? When purchasing the dry malt I had the option of Dark or Light. Any suggestions?

Thanks

djvyeates's picture
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You nailed it Chris, these are excellent. The only difference I made was to leave the fermentation overnight, and I think the quantity of dough here will make about 20 breads rather than 14. Also, the first batch I made stuck to the baking paper, so I used a silicone tray for the subsequent batches which was perfect.

shieldfield's picture

I wanted to pint out that using sodium hydroxide (to be authentic) one should only add it, slowly, to cold water stirring all the time. It is exothermic when dissolving so adding it to boiling or even hot water can cause an explosion of boiling water and sodium hydroxide.

sarahteagle14's picture
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Amazing! Tried today, and came out perfect, thank you for adding this!!

chris210's picture
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Yes, it is a typo and has now been corrected to 40cm (not 400cm). You should let them boil for about 5 seconds in the water. Too long is not good at all!

mrsmayes's picture

I very much hope you've got a typo in this recipe, cos I had difficulty rolling mine to 40 cm, let alone 400 cm (that'd be nearly 13 feet)!

How long is the dough supposed to be in the water? Mine floated straight away...

majamcgill's picture
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I've tried to made German pretzels before but they were nothing like the real thing so when I saw this even though I wanted to give it a go I didn't expect much. How wrong I was! This really is an authentic recipe, thank you so much for sharing it.

rodgersb's picture

I want to make these next week for my school cook club. I tried them out today and they were fab. The browner they were, the better. 5star recipe!

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