Homemade German Pretzels are amazing! The dark golden brown color and salt chunks on top are a perfect contrast to the fluffy, sweet, and chewy yeast dough inside. I could eat these all day – plain, served with yellow mustard, toasted with butter, or split as a bun for a pork sandwich! They are also a perfect snack for watching the German Grand Prix this weekend!
This recipe is based on Alton Brown’s recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels. I did make one change, and that is to switch the type and amount of sugar. I got the idea to increase the 1 teaspoon of white sugar to 1/4 cup brown sugar from another world class Chef – Alinea’s Grant Atchaz! I was pleased and shocked that a Chef of his caliber — he is most known for innovative gastronomy — published a recipe for Soft German Pretzel Sticks in Food and Wine Magazine. Alton used butter instead of oil, and made the traditional shape versus sticks. So combining the best of both recipes I had high hopes when I set out to make German Pretzels. I think they are pretty good! My German husband agrees.
They are easier to make than you think. Here is a step-by-step guide.
The German Grand Prix is back in 2016 and being held in the beautiful Rhine Valley area of southern Germany at the Hockenheimring motor-racing circuit. Last year, the alternating hosts of the German Grand Prix – Nürburgring and Hockenheimring – were unable to reach agreement on who will host the Grand Prix resulting in Formula One dropping Germany from the 2015 F1 calendar. So glad it is back in 2016! This year, the rockstar Mercedes Team is expected to do well in their home country. Lewis Hamilton overtook Nico Roseberg in Hungary for the World Driver’s Championship. We are rooting for a Ferrari or McLaren upset at Hockenheimring! So is Chris Hemsworth.
German Grand Prix: Big Soft German Pretzels
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water 110 to 115 degrees F
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- ¼ cup ½ stick butter unsalted butter, melted
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 10 - 12 cups water for boiling
- ¾ cup baking soda
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
- Large coarse ground salt for pretzels or flaky salt such as Maldon
- Yellow mustard for serving
Combine the water, brown sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
Add the melted butter to the liquid and stir. Add the flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with baking spray or vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (Tip- place in cold oven and turn on oven light).
After the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Set aside on the parchment-lined baking sheet to raise a bit more while you roll out the rest.
In the meantime, on the stovetop bring the 10-12 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large, wide, deep skillet saucepan or roasting pan (a wide, deep skillet is better than a stockpot because it has more surface water). Monitor the boiling pot as the baking soda bath may bubble over.
Using a slotted, wide, flat spatula, place one or two pretzels at a time into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Dunk in the soda bath several times while cooking in the bath. Remove them from the water and place on paper towels to dry off the bottom and then place back on the baking sheet.
Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Watch carefully after 10 minutes as they may brown more quickly depending on your oven. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Yellow mustard