I was invited by the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant at the JW Marriott Dubai team to attend a Pretzel Baking Class.
Chef Steffen and his team welcomed us warmly and told us the story of the Famous Pretzels.
The pretzel was born in 1477. A baker of the court, from Bouxwiller, would have imprisoned by the king after having undercooked his bread. He risked being executed. However, the baker’s wife would have begged the king to let her man one last chance. Thus, the king would have imposed an ultimatum: the baker would be saved if he invented, in three days, a bread “through which the sun would shine three times”. While the baker was in his kitchen and desperate to invent a new recipe, he saw through the kitchen window his wife kneeling to pray for him, arms on his chest in the shape of a cross. On seeing his wife, the baker had an idea: he crossed the two ends of a ribbon of dough, to reproduce the posture that adopted his wife, forming three holes, through which the sun could shine three times, as required by the king. But at the last moment before baking the bread that will later be called “Pretzel”, the cat knocked a product usually used to clean the oven plates. Since the baker did not have enough time to re-knead the dough, he baked them with the solution that was spilled on by the cat, a solution of baking soda, gave birth to the pretzel brined.
We will share with you the recipe of the Pretzel 🙂
Here are the Ingredients:
500g of Flour, 300ml of Milk, 1 tbsp of Salt, 1 cube of Fresh Yeast or 2 pieces of Dry Yeast, 1tbsp of Sugar, 40g of Butter, Rock Salt.
1 Litre of Water, 3 EL carbonate of soda (NaHCO3), that you can buy from the pharmacy
On the side, Flour for working, Baking paper or Oil spray
Preparation of the Pretzel
Add 100g of flour, all the yeast and some warm milk into a bowl. Mix, cover with cling-film and leave in a warm place. After that, add the rest of the flour, salt, milk, and melted butter. Mix and kneed the mixture to make a firm dough (around 10 minutes) and leave for approx. 1 hours or until a point pushed in gentle springs back.
When ready, knock the dough back and start forming shapes. Roll the dough out to be a long (40 cm) rope with the middle 5cm bulged to a diameter of around 3 cm, tapering to the ends being around 0.75 cm thick. Bring the two ends together about 5 cm in, overlap them, twist, and bring back to go over the main body. Almost like tying a knot. Leave for 30 minutes uncovered in a warm room to rise and develop.
In the meantime bring the 1 liter of water to the boil in a large pot (around 20cm diameter) and add the baking soda. If you can find food grade sodium hydroxide (lye) use that at 3-4 tbs per litre, but be VERY careful and DO NOT let children near it. ALWAYS wear gloves and eye protection.
You can do any shape you want to.
Once the dough has risen, place the trays in a cool area with a breeze. A fan can be used if there is no breeze. This develops a skin on the pretzels which gives that special chewy texture. Once done drop the shaped dough into the boiling solution (one at a time) until they float (about 5 second), fish out with a fish slice (or similar) and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sea salt and slash the dough to a depth of around 1cm in the thick part at the top-back.
Add the baking sheets to the 200C oven for around 16 minutes, until a nice deep bready brown is seen on the pretzels. Don’t go for gold or chestnut, go for brown!
Remove from the oven and allow cooling down completely on a wire rack.
The below is called the Obazda. It is a delicious mix to eat with the Pretzels.
Here is the Recipe:
250g Camembert, 125g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 75g Butter, Milk if necessary or wheat beer, Hungarian Sweet Paprika, Salt & Pepper, Caraway seed, Onion Rings (optional)
And here is the Preparation:
Grate the Camembert or cut in roughly in small pieces and let it get room temperature. The same with your butter and cream cheese.
Use a fork to mix all together in a bowl and add paprika and spices. Let it rest for half an hour and serve it together with your freshly baked pretzel.
Try to do it and share with us your home made Pretzels!