Maybe it is my German backgroundâ€¦ or maybe my love of all things salty, but I think nothing is better than a hot pretzel. Soft pretzels are great, but they are only good fresh. Luckily they are not too tough to make at home. The following recipe may look long, but it is easier than making bread. We made a batch for a Octoberfest party we threw and they were a huge hit.
In order to give the pretzels a dunk in boiling water gives them their chewy skin. In order to get the nice caramel color it helps to add baking soda to the dunking water. The baking soda makes the water more basic (the opposite of acidic) which breaks down the starch on the outside of the pretzel and turns it into a sugar that caramelizes when baked. Traditional recipes call for lye, which is a caustic chemical that is dangerous to handle. Pretzels made with a lye bath supposedly have the best texture and the most authentic flavorâ€¦ it gives it a bit of a tang.
German Style Soft PretzelsIngredients:
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon malt powder or brown sugar
- 2 to 3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave)