Bavarian Pretzels | Recipeish | Gustus Vitae

Bavarian Pretzels | Recipeish | Gustus Vitae

  • Yield: 8 of the best pretzels you've ever had.
  • Time Estimate: 26 hours, including 25 unattended.
  • Storage Notes: Best if enjoyed immediately, can be kept in a bread box for up to 2 days.
  • Difficulty: Medium - you want to be very careful with the vapors from the super alkaline baked baking soda. 

These pretzels take a bit of work and time, but we promise the result is absolutely worth it - it's not an exaggeration to say these are the best pretzels we've ever had. For this recipe, we bake the the baking soda to up its alkalinity as opposed to using lye: far easier to get a hold of, and the result is the same beautiful browning and crisping of a thin crust. Once you've made these once, we guarantee you'll be making them again - who says Octoberfest feasts have to be reserved for October?! Serve up these Everything But The Avocado Toast and Everything Brooklyn Bagel dusted pretzels with mustard, sauerkraut, jammy onions, seared sausages, and an oversized stein of ice cold beer. Prost!

Ingredients 

Directions
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the packet of active dry yeast with 3/4ths Cup of warm (but not hot) water and honey.
  • Leave it for around around 8 minutes - it should be nice and foamy.
  • Pour in the pilsner, Probiotic Ocean Salt, flour, and cubed butter, and mix for 2-3 minutes with a spatula until a rough dough forms.
  • Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer, and mix on low for 2 minutes, before increasing speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes.
  • Give a large bowl a good spritz of cooking spray, transfer dough, shaping in a ball, cover bowl with saran wrap, and pop in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • About two hours before your're ready to serve, preheat your oven to 500F, and remove dough from the fridge to begin warming up.
  • Spread baking soda across a wide oven-safe bowl, and bake baking soda for 1 hour. Remove, allow to cool, cover, and reserve.
  • Dump dough out onto a large unfloured surface, flatten, and divide into 8 roughly even segments, covering 7.
  • Working one at a time, use your finger to spread dough out into rectangles around 4" x 6", before rolling them tightly width-wise, and pinching to create a dough cylinder. 
  • Beginning from the center and stretching outwards, roll dough into a rope form, around 15" long. Reserve, cover, and repeat with remaining segments.
  • Return to the first rope, and again roll out, stretching the rope to around 30". The width doesn't have to be uniform, and slightly tapered ends are good.
  • Cover, and repeat with remaining 7 ropes.
  • Again working one at a time, form a U shape with the dough, with the hollow part of the U facing you.
  • Lift up the ends and cross, around 5-6" down from the ends. Cross again, then press down ends on the bottom of the U to create the pretzel shape.
  • Place wax paper down on 2 baking pans, lightly spray with cooking oil, and place down your first pretzel, repeating the process with the remaining segments. Try to leave at least 1" of space between the pretzels.
  • Loosely cover with tin foil, and allow 30 minutes for them to rise and nearly double in size.
  • While the pretzels are rising, return oven to 500F.
  • In a wide non-reactive (stainless steel or ceramic) pot, stir baked baking soda into 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil, before reducing to a low simmer. Make sure the windows are open and the vent/hood is running.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg and whole milk, and reserve.
  • Depending on the size of your pot, carefully lay down one or two pretzels in the alkaline water, boiling for about 12 seconds, before carefully flipping and again boiling for 12 seconds.
  • Use a spider or spatula to carefully remove the pretzels, allowing excess water to drip off before replacing on the wax paper covered baking pans.
  • Repeat with remaining pretzels, then put on rubber gloves to reform/reshape pretzels as needed, taking care to crimp down ends. Your pretzels should now look slightly swollen and a little wrinkly - this is a good thing.
  • Brush egg wash evenly on the eight pretzels, then sprinkle generously with Everything But The Avocado Toast Seasoning and Everything Brooklyn Bagel Seasoning - they're equally great individually on a bagel, or mixed together.
  • Pop the two baking trays, uncovered, in the oven, and bake for 5 minutes, before swapping top to bottom and back to front, and cook a further 4-5 minutes, or until well browned.
  • Remove and allow 10 minutes to cool.
  • Serve with mustard, jammy onions, sauerkraut, sausages, and an ice cold pilsner, and enjoy the best pretzel you've ever had.

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