Some time ago I was looking for German Brezen recipes and came across this document: http://www.backmittel.de/BBZ/pdf/Her...gengebaeck.pdf
This is a German manual intended for small bakeries on how to make all sorts of laugengebaeck. Laugengebaeck is the German word for baking goods that have been treated with lye before baking. I'm a big fan of Laugenbroetchen (lye-roll or brezel-roll). After reading this document I learned that there are 3 styles of brezels in Germany that have a slightly different recipe. I tried the recipe for the Bavarian style dough and was amazed how close I came to what I was used to and loved so much in Germany. I had baked rolls and bread before, which helped.
Here is the recipe (in metric of course
500g Bread flour
20g DME (yes dried malt extract)
10g margarine or oil
15g fresh yeast or 1 tsp instant yeast (I use the latter)
245g warm water
This recipe has been scaled down from the 10,000 kg version given on page 6. The original recipe called for Ulmer Goldmalz Granulat, which is basically baking grade malt extract that is used to enhance the rise and the flavor of the dough. I substituted with DME and currently this is actually the only use for the DME that I have left.
Prepare the dough by mixing the ingredients well and kneed the dough for about 10 min. Then let it rise. You can also put it in the fridge overnight wich will actually improve the final product. Form the brezels or rolls. I like to make an assortment of brezels, knots (a simple overhand knot) and rolls. Let it rise again. The long strings of dough are best made when the dough has not risen to much and you may have to let them rest covered for a few minutes to relax the gluten before you can stretch them further. Keep practicing.
Though the original recipe called for lye, I used a 3% (by weight) solution of baking soda. Simply add 30g baking soda to 1 L water. You will get the same sheen and taste as you get with lye if you boil the brezen in the baking soda solution for about 30s before baking. Place them on parchement paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some coarse salt . When making rolls, cut the top with a sharp knife.
Bake in a 350 - 400 *F oven (I don't remember exactly what temp I used) until they look done.
(the wite balance may be off for this picture)