What is it?
Bavarian soft pretzel.
How is it called in German?
Bayerische Brezel “Brezn”
“Brezn” is the Bavarian word for “Pretzel”.
Cultural Background Story
Since the people in Munich like their pretzel so much, they vehemently claim, they invented it.
According to a legend the first pretzel, as we know it today, was supposedly eaten in 1839. Baked goods, in the shape of of a pretzel, already existed at the time. But they were made with sugar and counted as a sweet treat.
The baker Anton Nepomuk Pfannenbrenner accidently covered a batch of pretzels with a sodium hydroxide solution – which was meant for cleaning the pans – rather than with sugar. When they came out of the oven, they looked crispy brown and smelled, as well as tasted wonderfully.
That is how the pretzel was invented, as we know it today, and is as legend tells us, apparently a Bavarian invention.
However, this does not apply to the form of the pretzel. That developed over the centuries.
Bayerische Brezel “Brezn”
Bavarian Pretzels are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and sprinkled with coarse salt.
- 1 tbsp. yeast
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 cups warm milk
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. barley malt
- 1 tbsp. coarse Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. lard
Baking Soda Bath
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- In a stand mixer bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in about 2 tbsp. of warm milk.
- Cover with clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for about 10 min.
- In the meantime, blend flour, barley malt, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture, the lard, and the remaining warm milk to the stand mixer bowl.
- Knead for about 10 min. or until your dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover and let rise in warm place for 30-60 minutes.
- Place dough onto a lightly floured working space. Divide it in 8 pieces and shape them into pretzels. View the video tutorial to learn how to shape the pretzels.
- Allow pretzels to rest in the fridge uncovered for about 20 minutes.
- Fill a large pot 2/3 with water and heat water.
- Once the water boils, add the baking soda slowly to the water.
- Place pretzel on a slotted spoon and allow to float in the water mixture for about 10-30 seconds on each side.
- Remove, place the pretzel on a with parchment paper lined or greased baking sheet. Sprinkle immediatley with coarse salt.
- Repeat with the rest of the pretzels.
- Place the pretzels into the cold oven and set the temperature to 425F.
- Bake pretzels for about 18 minutes or until nicely browned.
Pretzels taste wonderful just as it is, amazing with some butter and make a great base for a German sandwich.
If you have stale pretzel leftover you can make pretzel dumplings. Use the same recipe like for “Semmelknödel” (bread dumplings) and just use the pretzels instead of rolls.