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Old 09-02-2007, 03:45 PM   #1
menschmaschine
 
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Well, it's September and Oktoberfest is coming up. I thought I would post this recipe for real German pretzels. I made this recipe last year and I couldn't believe how good they were. A couple things to note: Don't make them too big (like you see at Oktoberfest). That size is more gimmicky than the real Bavarian pretzel. They should be about the size of your fist before baking. Also, the key ingredient to making real Bavarian pretzels is lye (sodium hydroxide). You'll see a lot of recipes with baking soda or an egg wash, but those won't turn out near as good. Food-grade lye is available on the internet (search for soap making), or if you know a bakery that makes pretzels, maybe they'll sell you some. I got mine at Lowes, believe it or not (albeit, not food-grade). It's called Roebic Crystal Drain Opener and the label stated it was 100% Sodium Hydroxide, so I figured, what the heck? I didn't die or get cancer (that I know of) and I read somewhere on the internet that some home-ec teacher used it for her kids with no problems. So, it's probably no big deal, but I don't officially condone its use over food-grade lye . Either way, be careful with lye! It's the opposite extreme of a hard-core acid and will cause some serious skin problems if you touch it. For some reason, though (chemistry), when you put these lye-soaked pretzels in the oven, they are perfectly safe to eat after baking. Anyway, on to the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 tsp yeast
1/8 cup warm water (105dF)
1-1/3 cups warm water (105dF)
1/3 cup brown sugar
4-1/2 cups flour (Bread Flour is best)
2 Tbsp Lye w/ 2 qts water
Kosher Salt or Sea Salt

Directions:

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/8 cup warm water. Stir in 1-1/3 cups warm water, brown sugar, and flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let dough rise for 30 min.

2. Pre-heat oven to 475dF. On cook-top, heat 2 Tbsp Lye and 2 qts. water in saucepan. Do not boil, just steep. Make sure lye is well dissolved.

3. Tear off some dough and roll a long, thick pencil shape w/ hands. Pick up both ends, cross to form rabbit ears and twist the ends. Pull the ends back to make the "pretzel" shape (press the ends down a little so they stick). Set aside on a lightly floured surface and let rise a few minutes. Do this until you run out of dough. (I think it makes about 12 pretzels, but I can't remember exactly.)

4. Dip each pretzel in the lye bath for 1-2 seconds and place on a salted cookie sheet (you can use stainless steel tongs for this but you may want to wear latex gloves as well just to be safe... also the cookie sheet should be stainless as well. The lye will corrode other materials).

5. Salt top of pretzels and bake for 8-10 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.

6. Let them cool a little before serving, but they are best eaten warm out of the oven. Serve with your favorite German food. Preferrably, wurst, sauerkraut, and some spicy German mustard!

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Old 09-02-2007, 05:21 PM   #2
EdWort
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Ausgeseichnet! Vielen Dank!

Now we need to see some pics!

 
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:23 PM   #3
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Now I'm hungry.

Gotta go light the
grill. After I've racked the Blonde!
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Old 09-02-2007, 06:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy
After I've racked the Blonde!
You're talking about beer, right? Otherwise, those are pretty bold words for a moderator!

 
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy
Gota go light the grill...After I've racked the Blonde!
Where's the pics of THAT???
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:34 PM   #6
Orfy
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I've had my dip tube in there for most of the night.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:16 PM   #7
menschmaschine
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy
I've had my dip tube in there for most of the night.
Sweet!

 
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:56 AM   #8
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Cool!

This sounds great, thanks for sharing!



(although I will put in a plug for the 'food grade' vs. 'non food grade' argument...and that is you never know what you are getting so be careful. It's all in how it is processed. Without being able to follow the chain of production, you'll always have that in the back of the ole noodle to bug you. The 'what if's' as it were. This is the reason I won't use agricultural lime for pickling etc.)
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:51 PM   #9
menschmaschine
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01
(although I will put in a plug for the 'food grade' vs. 'non food grade' argument...and that is you never know what you are getting so be careful. It's all in how it is processed. Without being able to follow the chain of production, you'll always have that in the back of the ole noodle to bug you. The 'what if's' as it were. This is the reason I won't use agricultural lime for pickling etc.)
I don't disagree at all. It's just that last year when I wanted to make them, the only source for food-grade lye I could find was like $50 for a few pounds from a chemical company on the internet. I didn't want to spend that much money to make pretzels so I researched alternatives and went to every hardware store in the area. I found that many took it off the shelves because of crystal meth makers. So I took my chances, but felt somewhat confident in it. I debated for a while to use it, but when I saw that a teacher used it for her kids, I felt better about it. We're probably talking hundredths of a percent of contaminants, but I would like to see some chemical analyses of food-grade lye vs 100% NaOH drain opener. I recently did some searches and it looks like there are better options out there this year for food-grade. I saw one sight had it for like $5.00.

 
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
I saw one sight had it for like $5.00.
Post it, man.
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