For years, ever since our trip to Munich, Germany, I've tried to replicate the wonderful Bavarian pretzels....crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside. But I've found that apparently this is impossible because they dip the pretzels in lye, and I'm just not willing to do that. I also think they have different flour or water or something.
I also have had trouble baking bread, which I love to do, because I'm not strong enough (or tall enough) to knead the dough. But since Aaron got me a KitchenAid with a bread hook, I'm a bake-aholic. I make a fresh loaf each week, and we've quit buying bread at the grocery. This recipe is quite good and comes from TheOktoberfest.com.
1 Package active dry yeast (2 tsp)
Warm water (1/8 Cup-105°f/30ml-40°c)
Warm water (1 1/3 Cup/315ml)
Brown sugar (1/3 Cup/80 grams)
Flour (4 1/2 Cups/520 grams)
Pot of water
Dissolve yeast in 1/8-cup warm water. Stir in 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1/3-cup brown sugar and flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. You can let the dough rise for a half hour or so but it is not required.
Heat oven to 475°f / 245°c. In a saucepan, measure 2 tablespoons baking soda to each cup of water. Put enough water to fill the saucepan at least 3 inches high. Bring soda and water mixture to a light boil and set heat to simmer. Make sure the baking soda is well disolved.
Tear off some dough and roll a long thick pencil shape with your hands. Pick up both ends, cross to form rabbit ears and then twist the ends and pull them back to the rest of the loop. Place aside on lightly floured surface and let rise a few minutes.
Place pretzels one at a time in water/baking soda mixture for 10 seconds on each side or until the pretzel dough is light yellow in color. Remove the pretzel from boiling water and place onto a salted a cookie sheet.
Salt the top of pretzels with course ground sea salt. Place cookie sheet with pretzels into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until pretzel is golden brown. Enjoy while warm.
I recommend Dusseldorfer style mustard. Great with German Weisswurst and a Weissbier!
Notes: Do not refrigerate this dough, it will become unworkable. Also, do not try to make pretzels as big as in the picture. About 6" in diameter is fine.