Hi Blog Friends,
I have a friend who gets together with a group of friends each Fall to make homemade authentic German pretzels. I've always been fascinated with the process, but didn't want to attempt the whole lye bath thing on my own. I know it's probably not that difficult and that there are tons of places online to get info on the procedure. However, I am a pretty big fan of the softer "Auntie Anne's" type of American pretzel. Tonya and I have wanted to make these for about a year now, so we finally got together a couple of weekends ago (NO, not on her honeymoon, lol... after that!) to try them out. Here's what we came up with:
They turned out to be delicious and we learned quite a bit in the process. I thought I'd share the recipe with you, since I'm in "Recipe Mode" right now. (Trying to fill up that Recipe Book I shared with you in a previous post.) It would make a great holiday gift for someone special!
The recipe is in a pdf format, you need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to open it. If you don't have Reader, it's available as a free download on Adobe's website.
After the dough has risen, divide it into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece to approximately 1/2" thick, the longer the better. Ours ended up being about 18" to 26" long. For the Auntie Anne style you need to roll the dough strips to about 1/2" thick and about 26" long.
After the dough is the desired length and thickness, overlap the ends to form a twist:
Then take the twist and flip it over onto the loop part of the pretzel:
The one above was made using an 18" length of dough. Here's one that was made using a 26" length:
It was rolled thinner and longer. Most of the "Auntie Anne" style recipes online called for dipping the pretzel in a baking soda bath. Tonya and I experimented with the baking soda wash, with using an egg wash, and leaving them plain.
I wish we would have taken photos of each result. The plain ones were not as pretty to look at and were not as tasty. The egg wash one produced a much darker, more traditional looking pretzel, but it was a little tougher and chewier. We were wanting the soft, bread type. The best result was produced with the baking soda wash as explained in the recipe above. It produced a really pretty pretzel that was soft and tasty. One hint though: Make sure you dip the ENTIRE pretzel in the water, as some of ours weren't dipped completely and they turned out spotted and not as visually appealing.
One other thing we experimented with was the toppings. On some of them we sprinkled Kosher salt before baking them. On some of the others, we brushed them with butter and sprinkled the salt on after baking. And YUM! the best ones were the cinnamon sugar ones:
We dipped them in the baking soda wash, baked them, then brushed them with butter and dipped them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Mmmm, mmmm good!
OK, I'll be back from my trip soon and will have some freebies for you, so please check back!