Andy's Homemade Pretzels
Bakery-style homemade pretzels, aka Laugen Brezen, from a German baker to you! These are the large pretzels that taste so good dunked into German mustard. You NEED to make these! Andy, one of our readers, wrote that his Dad, Ferdinand, a former Bavarian baker, taught him the recipe and technique, so it is genuinely authentic.
I was blessed when he was willing to share the recipe below as well as his photo. He also said to remember that the lye solution is key to the flavor. Do read his caution in the recipe when using lye solution. This is definitely not a recipe you want the kids to help with, unless it's forming the traditional shape. If you'd rather not use lye, then check below for my recipe.
1. Andy's Homemade Pretzels
*This recipe is sized for a 575w Kitchenaid mixer batch and has been scaled down/translated from an old recipe from Straubing, Bavaria*
- 5½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp yeast
- 1½ oz lard – about a ⅝” slice off a regular 16-oz brick (slightly warmed for better mixing)
- 1 small egg
- 16 oz cool water (can vary slightly based on dry ingredients)
- sodium hydroxide (food grade or lye) & hot water for glazing dip solution. (Food grade is available on Amazon or commercial bakery supply stores)
- Coarse salt for sprinkling
- Combine dry ingredients in bowl except for last 2 cups of flour.
- Mix at Speed #2
- Add wet ingredients (water, egg and lard), then slowly add last 2 cups of flour.
- Continue mixing until bread dough consistency is complete. If necessary, add a small amount of water or flour to achieve this tacky bread dough consistency.
- Remove dough and divide into thirds.
- Keeping two pieces covered with damp cloth, divide first third into 6 pieces and roll these pieces into approximately 24” long strips, thin at ends, somewhat thicker in the middle. Do this with the remaining two thirds.
- Form pretzels and put on large board. Put board in a cool place so they proof slowly. Outside during cool weather is good.
- Grease cookie sheet with lard. Not too light (or they will stick) and not too heavy (or they will be greasy). It is normal for the first batch to stick a little with consecutive batches coming off more easily.
- After pretzels have risen, dip in strong lye solution (use protective glove) and place 6 per cookie sheet. Use at least 3 heaping Tbsp in a glass or ceramic bowl of hot water.
- *NOTE* The lye solution is extremely corrosive so care must be taken about dripping onto counters, etc. Cookie sheets will also be affected so it’s best to use ones that you don’t mind getting permanently marked.
- If baking slowly (only one cookie sheet at a time) keep others outside in cooler air while they wait.
- Nick the fat part with a razor or knife (for decorative purposes) and sprinkle with coarse salt around the bottom (fat part).
- Bake for about 15-17 minutes at 450°F until a dark golden brown.
- Remove and put on cooling rack.
- Makes 18 large pretzels
2. Looking for easier homemade pretzels?
If you are not too keen on using lye, then here's my recipe for making pretzels. These are ones you'll definitely be wanting your kids to have fun with, helping you make.
Among Oktoberfest recipes, this one should be a must. Dipped in hot German mustard or just plain, right out of the oven, you'll soon be in love with these too.
A special 'Thank You" to Andy and his Dad, Ferdinand, for sending is their recipe. I'm looking forward to being able to share more of his recipes!
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