Traditional laugenbrezeln are dipped in a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution, which gives the pretzels their dark brown, smooth glaze and slight crunch. As lye is only available for industrial use, we’ve used a bicarbonate of soda solution. For best results, start a day ahead.
- 7 g sachet dried yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 375 ml (1½ cups) lukewarm milk
- 525 g (3½ cups) plain flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- cooked weisswurst* and sweet mustard, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Dissolve yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl. Place flour and 1 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and stir in yeast mixture until just combined. Knead for 10 minutes or until mixture forms a soft, smooth and elastic dough. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into 60 cm-long thin logs. Working with one log at a time, lift up the two ends to make a U-shape, then place the curved end of the U on an oven tray. Cross ends over each other once, then bring both ends back up to the curved U to form a pretzel shape, and press ends lightly to seal. Rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. This helps form a 'skin’ on the dough and gives the pretzels a crisp shell.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place bicarb soda, 1 tbsp salt and 1litre water in a saucepan over high heat and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Pick up a pretzel and immerse in the solution for 10 seconds. Return to tray. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Scatter with coarse salt. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with weisswurst and mustard.
* Weisswurst is a traditional white Bavarian sausage made from finely minced veal. It is available from selected butchers and delis.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 11, pg75.
Photography by John Laurie.