The main reason people never make Brezeln on their own is the big mystery of their crust – you can’t do whatever bakeries do to the dough in order to turn it into wonderful, brown, soft and yet crispy Brezeln. Legend has it you need a secret (and expensive) chemical ingredient for them to cook in.
BUT: that’s not true. Thank heaven! All you need is baking soda – and all the regular ingredients for making yeast dough. But don’t tell anyone, they’ll be much less impressed by your homemade Brezeln!
By the way, it’s Brezeln for me, because they’re typically German / Austrian. Just like Weißwurst, Sauerkraut and Lederhosen.
This recipe is basically Laura Vitale’s Soft Pretzels. She has stilled many of my fears in baking, and I seriously suggest you take a look at her videos (not doing any promo).
Well, but now that you’re here I’ll type the recipe and process anyway (could be because I want to show you the cute Brezelis I made).
Put sugar, salt and dry yeast into the lukewarm water and let sit for a couple of minutes, or until the yeast starts to foam.
Combine yeast, all purpose flour and melted butter and knead and knead and knead until you don’t feel your arms anymore. That is, for about 10 minutes.
Yes, this is exactly the same dough. You won’t understand the satisfaction of producing properly risen yeast dough until you failed at least once. Although for some people it’s hard to believe you can fail at making yeast dough.
Divide the dough into nine parts, roll each one to a long strand. Make a U-shape, then cross the ends, rotate them once more and then pinch them on the Brezel’s body – difficult to explain, easy to do.
Meanwhile, prepare the lye: add the baking soda to the water and bring it to a boil.
360ml water, lukewarm
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package dry yeast
2 Tbsp melted butter
560g all purpose flour
1/6 cup baking soda
eggwash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp milk or water)
Mix water, yeast, sugar and salt and let sit for a couple of minutes.
Combine the yeast with flour and butter, knead for 10 minutes and let sit for one hour.
Heat up water and baking soda. Preheat your oven to 240°C (450°F).
Form pretzels and cook in the lye for 30 seconds each.
Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8 minutes at 240°C (450°F).
(recipe by Laura Vitale)