Baking,  German,  Recipes

How to make authentic German Brezeln!

Have you been to Oktoberfest this year? Since I am currently an Erasmus student in Scotland, I’ve only been to a Scottish version and our German hosted pre-party this year. So my friends and I baked pretzels for everyone!

Yeah, I know Oktoberfest is over by now. But it’s never the wrong time of year to post a pretzel recipe, is it?

Whether you call it Brezn, Brezel or Pretzel, I have the best recipe for homemade Brezeln for you! And between us, I’m VERY picky when it comes to German baked goods, especially pretzels. 

The only ones better than these are probably the Brezeln from this small bakery in my home town. But no-one would be able to bake better Brezeln than them!

Now I have to be honest with you, the last time I made them they didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted to. So translating ml on a measuring cup into grams isn’t as easy as I thought and I ended up with too much flour and therefore a dry dough. But if you get the measures right, I promise you a good result!

So let’s get started!

What type of flour should you use?

In Germany, I would use a type 405 or 550 for this recipe. Both are a little finer than North American all-purpose or British plain flour. So you might want to look for a pastry or cake flour, but all-purpose flour will work too. If you try different types of flour on this recipe, let me know about your results in the comments or on Instagram!

For the dough, you need to sieve the flour into a bowl. Form a well in the flour and add the salt into it. Cut up the butter into small pieces and put it around the well. Heat the water, sugar and the yeast. When the yeast is dissolved completely, pour the mixture into the flour. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.

the ingredients for german pretzels in a bowl

Next, knead the dough until it’s smooth. This might take a while. I suggest to knead it for at least 10 minutes. You will notice the dough getting smoother. If the dough is too sticky, add some more flour, but be careful about adding too much.

pretzels dough being knead

Divide the dough into 16 or 8 parts, depending on whether you want small or big pretzels. Cover the pieces and let them rest for another 20 minutes.

dough for pretzels left to rise

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Start forming the pretzels. Roll out a piece of dough. Leave the middle part thicker and roll the dough very thin on either side. You’ll want to roll out into a much longer piece than you’d expect. To form the traditional German pretzel shape twist the thin ends and fold them over the thicker part to look like this.

unbaked german pretzels

Anyway here’s a video of me shaping a Brezel:

Bring 1l of water to a boil and add the baking soda. The soda will make the water foam so be careful when adding it to the water. You can remove the water from the heat to prevent spilling. Make sure the water is boiling again. Boil the formed pretzels in the lye for 30 seconds, one at a time. Use a sieve or spoon to take the dough out of the lye. Place them immediately on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Make a cut in the thicker part of the pretzel and put some coarse salt on it. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

german pretzels with sauerkraut

German pretzels

Here's how to make authentic German pretzels.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time25 mins
Cuisine: German
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 520 g flour
  • 21 g fresh yeast or 7g dry yeast
  • 300 ml water lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 l water
  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  • Sieve the flour into a bowl. Form a well in the flour and add the salt into it. Cut up the butter into small pieces and put it around the well.
  • Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water. When everything is dissolved completely, pour the mixture into the flour, slightly mix some flour with the water mixture. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Knead the dough until it’s smooth, for about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 16 or 8 parts, depending on whether you want small or big pretzels. Cover the pieces and let them rest for another 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
  • Shape the pretzels.
  • Bring 1l of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Boil the formed pretzels in the lye for 30 seconds, one at a time. Place them immediately on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Make a cut in the thicker part of the pretzel and put some coarse salt on it.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Linda

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