Cooking and Recipes

Bavarian-Style Pretzels

Last week, we went to Lakeside for our Build-a-Bear experience and on the way out, grabbed a pretzel each from the vendor there. Not the small, hard pretzels that you get in bags but the large, bready ones that you find in Germany, and we all loved them.

Husband has been to Germany many times and even to a few proper beer kellers in Munich where they have ladies walking around selling freshly baked ones, but he’d only ever had a pretzel at Disneyland, so I decided to have a go at making our own, so that we can have them whenever we want.

After a little research, I discovered that true Bavarian pretzels are dipped into Lye (caustic soda) before baking to get the shiny, dark brown exterior but it’s difficult to buy food-grade Lye in the UK as it’s quite dangerous and can dissolve human flesh! We discovered that you can use a bath of bicarbonate of soda and water as a substitute, which doesn’t give such a deep-brown shine but still gives a good colour and crisp, so I thought I’d give you all the recipe and method to make your own.

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1 sachet of active yeast (7g or  teaspoons)
520g self-raising flour
350 ml warm water 
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
Bicorbonate of Soda
Sea Salt
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Knob of butter, melted

^ Heat the oven to 200c

^ Start by placing the yeast in a large bowl with 30ml of the warm water and mix until dissolved

^ Add the brown sugar

^ Sift in the salt and flour

^ Add the remaining warm water

^ Start bringing the mixture together with a wooden spoon

^ Once you have a solid mass, start kneading

^ Knead the dough for ten minutes until smooth and elastic. It doesn’t need to prove before shaping

^ Grab a saucepan and add three cups of water and 6 tbsps bicarbonate of soda and bring to the boil

^ Allow to simmer until all soda has dissolved then remove from heat and allow to cool a little

^ Cut your kneeded dough into 8 equal pieces

^ Take each piece and roll into a long snake which is slightly thicker in the middle, about 15 inches long

^ Make the pretzel shape by holding each end of the snake, crossing the lengths over each other twice and sticking the ends at if they were at twenty to four on a clock

^ Place on two baking trays lined with parchment paper and allow to stand for ten minutes

^ Take the moulded dough shapes and one by one, submerge into the bicarb solution for about ten seconds

^ Place the dipped dough onto the parchment paper, four on each tray and reshape a little if needed

^ Once all of the dough has been dipped, season one tray with sea salt

^ Bake all of the pretzels at 200c for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown

^ Brush all of the pretzels lightly with a little melted butter and add more salt to the savoury ones

^ Mix the icing sugar and cinammon in a bowl and sift over the 4 unseasoned pretzels

Enjoy while warm!

UPDATE: Carolin and Helen were true to their word below and both made their own pretzels! You can find their recipes HERE and HERE.

9 thoughts on “Bavarian-Style Pretzels

  1. I adored pretzel when I lived in Frankfurt: I keep seeing the Auntie Anne’s stand in Bromley and thinking I should make them. Now I will 🙂

  2. I don’t know if I would be brave enough to make them, but I have had them in Westfield several times. When I say Westfield I mean Stratford. Do you?
    They are BLOODY delicious and so great as they are warm and made in front of you. Quite a dear habit though 🙂

    1. Ooops! No, it was self-raising, I’ve amended the recipe above now, thanks for pointing that out.

  3. After seeing them on facebook I knew I’d make them as soon as you posted the recipe! I’ve never had a pretzel before despite the stalls in Lakeside and Bluewater selling them – definitely gotta give them a try now!

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  4. ooh I’ve always fancied making some of these as I used to love the smell of them in the shopping Mall in the US – assuming they’re the same/similar the the ones you get in America? It’s those crunchy chunks of salt on them that I love!

  5. I’ve never made my own pretzles or Brezeln as we call them in Germany, so this is something that will definitely go onto my to-do-list now. They look great x

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