Well it isn’t Oktoberfest without a Bavarian pretzel – the tasty golden brown salty treat is iconic. If you’re like us, you’re too intimidated to make them from scratch…but thanks to a friend of the SSO we found out it’s easier than we thought.
Educator, author, and illustrator Peter Cowan helped us build our kids show Little Ludwig (released in just a few weeks!), and now he’s helping us learn how to make delicious Bavarian pretzels. We’re grateful that he let us invade his home to learn how to make amazing pretzels!
FOR THE PRETZELS:
- 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
- 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
- 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar or malt extract
- 2 1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp table salt
FOR THE BATH:
- 4 cups water
- 3 Tbsp baking soda
- 2 Tbsp coarse salt (we used Maldon salt as we find it works the best)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine lukewarm milk, water, and brown sugar. Stir together with a fork then sprinkle instant (or active dry) yeast on top. Give it a swirl with the fork and let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.
2. In the meantime melt the butter over low heat, then let cool for a few minutes.
3. Add flour, melted butter, and salt to the bowl with the yeast and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap put it in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
4. Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 16-inch (40cm) long rope, the middle part (about 2 inches or 5 cm) should be bulged to a diameter of about 1.2 inches and the ends should be thinned out to about 0.3 inches (0.75 cm).
5. Bring the ends together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends together twice then fold them down onto the bottom curve. Press ends into the dough and shape into a perfect pretzel shape.
6. Let the pretzels rise uncovered for 30 minutes in a warm place.
7. In the meantime preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C) with a baking sheet inside in the lower third.
9. Bring 4 cups water in a medium pot to a boil then add the baking soda. With a slotted spoon dip the pretzels one at a time carefully into the simmering water.
10. Take them out after about 5 seconds and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
11. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and cut the dough with a sharp knife about 0.2 inches deep in the thick middle part at the top-back.
12. Transfer the parchment paper with the pretzels onto the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until nicely browned. You want them to be really brown and not golden.
Make sure you plan for some mustard or cheese dip to go with them – click for dip ideas
Give it a try – its not too hard!
Making these soft pretzels and enjoying a beer is the ultimate way to enjoy the SSO’s Night at Oktoberfest