How to make pretzel rolls, buns and braids

pretzel

 

Pretzels dipped in sweet mustard is my GoTo food, when everyone else is eating their Weißwurst. In my opinion, the golden brown pastry is the actual queen at any Frühschoppen (German for pre-lunch drinking) table, and definitely not the pale, Bavarian cooked sausage, with its irritating green freckles. Anyway, I really don’t want to start a fight. So, let’s just talk about when to eat this delicious treat. By all means, you will find pretzels in every beer garden, yet you also enjoy them at the various festivities that take place over the year. Spontaneously, and because it’s coming up, I would like to mention the first of May.

On this holiday, many people have a day off, they meet for a Frühschoppen and then go “hiking” (even if “walking a few feet” would be a better fit in this case). Everyone is in a good mood, there is a lot of chit-chat and laughter going on, sometimes they even start to sing. At least for Germany it is often one of the first warm days of the year and the forest slowly wakes up from its deep wintery slumber. The leaves glow in a soft green, the air is filled with chirping birds and the sun speckles the ground with bright points of light. When everybody gets hungry, a break is initiated. Soon a beautiful glade or a colorful meadow become the stage for an opulent picnic scenario with veggies, spreads, charcuterie and a huge basket filled with, how could it be otherwise, fresh pretzels. Still a little warm from the oven, the rolls, buns and braids exude a wonderful fragrance, which slowly mixes with the scent of the fresh green, the warm skin and the cheerful mood. This is spring and pure joie de vivre!

 

pretzel

 

Well, there also is another correlation between pretzels and the first of May. In some German regions young men hang a pretzel on the door of their beloved to express their affection. You can find a similar tradition in the Rhineland, however, instead of the delicious baking good they use colorfully decorated birch trees. And yes, you guessed right – the bigger the tree the bigger the, well, affection. Both customs are wonderfully cheesy romantic and dashing in a cute way (after all, something is secretly attached to a house, and it usually happens around midnight).

As you can see, pretzels really play an important role within the celebrations of the first of May. So, let’s take this day as an opportunity to throw ourselves onto the next packet of yeast and bake either for the whole gang or our loved ones. Grab my recipe, have fun in the kitchen and have even more fun enjoying your hard works payoff. With that, I wish you a wonderful time celebrating the many festivities of spring and a great first of May!

PS: A Pretzel topped with Obatzter is quite a combination! You should definitely try it.

 

pretzel

 

INGREDIENTS

For 8 pieces

Preparation time: 5 hours 25 minutes (50 minutes action, 4 hours 20 minutes proofing, 15 minutes baking)

2 cups bread flour

¾ cup + 2 tbsp + 5 cups water

1 tsp yeast

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

8 tsp baking soda

sea salt and sesame (for sprinkling)

PREPARATION

Remove butter from the fridge, cut it into piece and put it aside.

Start with mixing flour and ¾ cup of water with a fork and continue kneading with your hands. Let your dough rest in the oven for about an hour. What you just did is technically called autolyse and is an important step for a good dough. Fancy, isn’t it?

Mix yeast with sugar in a small cup and add 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Put this mixture in the oven as well.

Take the dough out of the oven, add salt and risen yeast. If the blend is too wet, sprinkle some flour over it. Knead the dough for two minutes, add the butter and knead it further until all moisture is absorbed. Put the dough into the oven to proof it for another hour.

Now shape your dough. The easiest way to do this is to place it on a floured surface, flatten it slightly and then fold the sides into the middle. Turn the dough once (so that the folded sides are looking down) and shape the resulting ball with your hands. Return it to the bowl and let the dough proof for another 20 minutes.

 

pretzel

 

Now the pretzels are brought into their shapes. First divide the dough into 8 pieces of the same size. I have decided to make three different shapes: rolls, buns and braids. For the first one, use the technic I introduced in my post “Oven-baked Carnivals Donuts”. For the pretzel buns, form the dough into a roll. Make sure the middle is slightly thicker than the ends. For the braids, divide the pieces of dough three times, form even rolls and braid them. Put all of your pretzels on a with parchment paper lined baking tray, cover them with a kitchen towel and let them proof for two more hours.

For the lye solution, mix 5 cups of water with the baking soda and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 430°F. Turn off the stove and let the pretzels sit in the lye solution for 30 seconds. Turn each one over once so that all sides of the rolls, buns and braids are in contact with the lye solution (this is really important, otherwise they will not have that beautiful brown color). Drain them briefly on a paper towel.

 

pretzel

 

Place the pretzels back on the lined baking tray. Cut the rolls crossways and carve buns twice diagonally. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds (do not apply sea salt if you want to freeze your pretzels. The crystals will melt, soften the crust and this looks really ugly).

Put the tray on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After that, let the pretzels cool down completely.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE PRETZEL ROLLS, BUNS AND BRAIDS

04/17/2018
: 8 pieces
: medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp + 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8 tsp baking soda
  • sea salt and sesame (for sprinkling)
Directions
  • Step 1 Remove butter from the fridge, cut it into piece and put it aside.
  • Step 2 Start with mixing flour and ¾ cup of water with a fork and continue kneading with your hands. Let your dough rest in the oven for about an hour. What you just did is technically called autolyse and is an important step for a good dough. Fancy, isn’t it?
  • Step 3 Mix yeast with sugar in a small cup and add 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Put this mixture in the oven as well.
  • Step 4 Take the dough out of the oven, add salt and risen yeast. If the blend is too wet, sprinkle some flour over it. Knead the dough for two minutes, add the butter and knead it further until all moisture is absorbed. Put the dough into the oven to proof it for another hour.
  • Step 5 Now shape your dough. The easiest way to do this is to place it on a floured surface, flatten it slightly and then fold the sides into the middle. Turn the dough once (so that the folded sides are looking down) and shape the resulting ball with your hands. Return it to the bowl and let the dough proof for another 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 Now the pretzels are brought into their shapes. First divide the dough into 8 pieces of the same size. I have decided to make three different shapes: rolls, buns and braids. For the first one, use the technic I introduced in my post “Oven-baked Carnivals Donuts”. For the pretzel buns, form the dough into a roll. Make sure the middle is slightly thicker than the ends. For the braids, divide the pieces of dough three times, form even rolls and braid them. Put all of your pretzels on a with parchment paper lined baking tray, cover them with a kitchen towel and let them proof for two more hours.
  • Step 7 For the lye solution, mix 5 cups of water with the baking soda and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 430°F. Turn off the stove and let the pretzels sit in the lye solution for 30 seconds. Turn each one over once so that all sides of the rolls, buns and braids are in contact with the lye solution (this is really important, otherwise they will not have that beautiful brown color). Drain them briefly on a paper towel.
  • Step 8 Place the pretzels back on the lined baking tray. Cut the rolls crossways and carve buns twice diagonally. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds (do not apply sea salt if you want to freeze your pretzels. The crystals will melt, soften the crust and this looks really ugly).
  • Step 9 Put the tray on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After that, let the pretzels cool down completely.

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2 thoughts on “How to make pretzel rolls, buns and braids”

    • Thanks for your wonderful words!!! The celebration on the 1st of May really is fun. Maybe you can start a new tradition for that day: bake some pretzels, go for a hike with your friends and enjoy the day ;-)

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