• 1 and 1/2 cups (360 ml) lukewarm water
• 1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
• 3 and ¾-4 cups (460-500 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
• coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Baking Soda Bath
• ½ cup  baking soda
• 9 cups water

• Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute.
• Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter.
• Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick.
• Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
• Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball.
• Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. and preheat oven to  375 °F .
• Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
• Cut dough into 8 even sections.
• Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope.
• With the dough length, form a U-shape. Then, cross the ends of the U.
• Cross the ends over each other again, with an end in each hand.
• With an end in each hand, flip the ends down to the curve of the U-shape. The ends should overlap the dough just a little bit. To set the pretzel shape, press down where the ends of the dough cross.
• Drop 1 pretzel at a time into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. ( The baking soda solution gives pretzels their signature brown color.)
• Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet.
• Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
• Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tip: Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days (they lose a little softness).

According to an old legend, a pretzel was invented by one baker, who was ordered by the Bavarian king to bake a bun, through which the sun can be seen 3 times.
From the beginning to this day,  pretzel has bee the emblem of bakers in Germany and is often depicted on the signs of bakeries, bakeries and firms engaged in the manufacture of bread, muffins and various bakery products.

In the Middle Ages, the manufacturing of pretzels was tightly regulated and allowed only to a limited circle of people.  Traditional pretzels are made with wheat flour, malt, yeast and water. Before baking, the pretzels are immersed  in a solution of sodium hydroxide for several seconds , so that they get a typical brown color during baking, and then sprinkled with coarse salt.

The first known image of brezeln from 1190.

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