Oktoberfest Pretzels

Weekends are already chockful of thrilling adventures.
Schools out and Saturday steps in, arriving with a plethora of wonders.
Lazy Morning Pancakes.
Community Kids Festivals.
Toilet-paper Shopping.
Midafternoon Homecoming Games.
Guest Appearing on the Saucy Sisters Radio Show.
Just that. A smackling of absurdly delightsome joys, which included a quick chat about homecooked pretzels with the divine Barbara & Beverly. Authors, radio personalities, and truly lovely ladies.
This week, their Sauced! radio show centered around all things Oktoberfest, and they had me talking about the history of pretzels which, I know sounds yawn-worthy.
But, believe you me. It’s absolutely thrilling.
Equal parts romance and science.
Not since the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man exploded on screens in theatres have I found a single food item more riveting.
For instance, did you know Pretzels are thought to be first cooked up in 600 AD by a French or Italian monk who would make “pretiola,” or “little rewards” for good little children who said their prayers. From there, they eeked in popularity over the Bavarian border where they were perfected by bakers, and where they are now served for breakfasts, snacks and a good lot of holidays.
They’ve been hidden for Easter,
Given as proof of amore by starry-eyed boys to beloved girlfriends,
Inspired the wedding phrase, “tying the knot,”
Hosted a variety of dipping sauces from butter to buttercream.
Not to mention the fact that a true-to-life Bavarian pretzel is actual dipped before baking in a lye solution. Yea, L-Y-E.
As in, pull out the chemical masks and lab gloves, Einstein. There’ gonna be fireworks tonight.
Of course, the mere idea of combining lye–even the sort that is food grade–
(this is no lie: I actually read about a foodie who purchased his lye from Lowe’s in a bottle called “Crystal Drain Opener.”)
with anything I plan to place inside my tender pink stomach tissues is an instant no-no.
So, I’ve altered a bit and switched the coat of Lye (sodium hydroxide)
with a boiling bath of Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda.)
The results are delicious.
And so easy! If you’ve never made a yeast bread before, this is the one to attempt.
No rise time. No supremely finicking mixing of dough.
Just a bundle of fresh pretzels, hot from the oven, in less than an hour.
I feel as though I’m sounding like an infomercial, now.
Then again, I was on the radio this weekend.
You may just have to take a listen to the Saucy Sisters show and tell me if I have a future in broadcasting. (You can find the podcast HERE)
If not, I’m considering writing a lusty romance novel about Pretzels.
I’m thinking, equal parts romance and science.
I can already see it coming hot off the press…
Saucy Sisters Soft Baked Bavarian Pretzels
Home-baked Bavarian pretzels are even easier to make that you’ve ever imagined. Unlike other yeast breads, soft pretzels don’t need a traditional rising/fermenting time, so you can have fresh, hot pretzels coming out of the oven within an hour. Happy Oktoberfeasting!
1 ½ c. very warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
¼ c. sugar
3-4 cups flour
4 T. baking soda
10 cups water
1 egg white
¼ c. coarse kosher salt
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together water and yeast. Stir in the sugar and set aside 1-2 minutes until the mixture is foamy. Stir in 3 cups of the flour. Begin kneading the dough, adding additional flour until it is soft, but not at all sticky. On a lightly floured surface, roll a palm-sized ball of dough into a long rope, approximately 12 inches long. Twist into a pretzel shape. Set aside on a lightly floured surface and allow to rise slightly while you finish twisting the other pretzels.
Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Gently place pretzels in soda bath for 10 seconds on each side. Remove, brush with egg white and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake pretzels in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve warm, with Saucy Sisters Oktoberfest Pretzel Dipping Sauce.
Saucy Sisters Oktoberfest Pretzel Dipping Sauce
The very best Bavarian flavors melted into a pot, and ready for your dunking pleasure.
2 T. butter
3 T. German mustard
1 T. flour
¼ c. apple cider
1/3 c. whole milk
1 T. white vinegar
8 oz. good-quality sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
In a medium saucepan, melt butter & mustard over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour to create a thick paste. Slowly whisk in cider, milk and vinegar. Heat just until thickened. Turn heat to low and add shredded cheese. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and serve warm with fresh pretzels.
The month of Oktober is going to be a true Fest, indeed.
I’ve got so many surprises lined up for you, my darling readers, that I’m just bursting to spill the secrets.
No, no. I can hold it all in just….
Oh, heck sakes. Here’s the first surprise:
This Thursday brings with it an extra-special
Cupcake Spectacular.
You won’t want to miss it!

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36 Responses to “Oktoberfest Pretzels”

  1. 1

    Anonymous on September 27, 2009 at 9:52 pm Reply

    wow great blog. Those pretzels look like they're in need of a home :)

  2. 2

    Shannon @ Bake&Bloom on September 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm Reply

    They look like they would go great with a nice german beer :)

  3. 3

    Shannon @ Bake&Bloom on September 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm Reply

    They look like they would go great with a nice german beer :)

  4. 4

    Shannon @ Bake&Bloom on September 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm Reply

    They look like they would go great with a nice german beer :)

  5. 5

    Shannon @ Bake&Bloom on September 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm Reply

    They look like they would go great with a nice german beer :)

  6. 6

    Lisa on September 28, 2009 at 7:36 am Reply

    These look awesome. I am bookmarking this recipe as My kids would love to make these.

  7. 7

    Judds R'Us on September 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm Reply

    I love your blog although I have never commented before. But these pretzels look divine. Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. 8

    Becki Madsen on September 28, 2009 at 12:50 pm Reply

    What a wonderful post! You make it look so easy and so delicious! Can't wait to try them!

  9. 9

    a.men on September 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm Reply

    Oh my! Sounds yummy! I may just have to try this!

  10. 10

    Karly on September 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm Reply

    The pretzels look delicious and your photographs are gorgeous!

  11. 11

    Errin on September 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm Reply

    soft pretzels are a total weakness for me…and now I have no reason to be intimidated to make them at home. Could be dangerous :)

  12. 12

    me on September 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm Reply

    Oh yum! I'm a sucker for soft pretzels…

    Is the flour just regular all-purpose flour?

  13. 13

    The Deming Four on September 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm Reply

    oh these looks yummy!!!! Can't wait to try them this weekend! I made the puffed pancakes in mugs on Sunday for brunch and they turned out divine!!! Thank you for emailing me about the specifics!

  14. 14

    Anne on September 28, 2009 at 8:27 pm Reply

    I made these tonight- sooo delicious! I rolled some of them in butter and cinnamon sugar-yum. Thank you for the recipe!

  15. 15

    Phyllis Kirigin on September 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm Reply

    Wow! I love soft pretzels. Must try these. Photos are great. Do you know where to obtain pretzel salt?


  16. 16

    ConversationsWithACupcake on September 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm Reply

    Thanks, everyone for your kind comments! These pretzels are really so easy to make and so ridiculously good. You will not believe it.

    In answer to your questions…yes, regular all-purpose flour works perfectly. I also made them with whole wheat pastry flour but it's just not the same. Use the basic white flour and you can't go wrong.

    I found my coarse kosher salt at our local grocery store, King Soopers. It was in the spice aisle. Not all stores carry it, but fingers crossed you'll be able to find some in your neck of the woods. Good luck! Happy Pretzeling!

  17. 17

    Jaime on September 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Oh, Brooke!
    How I wish I was there with you that day, enjoying your crisp cool weather, and eating your delicious pretzels. You know, last time I made homemade pretzels, I was being all healthy and made them with whole wheat.
    They fell apart in the water. Long live white flour!!!

  18. 18

    Diana on September 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm Reply

    I made pretzels a while back and your post inspired me to try again. So easy and SOOOO delicious!

  19. 19

    SweetThingsTO on September 29, 2009 at 8:57 am Reply

    wow – looks fun to make and eat! Happy Oktoberfest!

  20. 20

    elizabeth on September 29, 2009 at 3:06 pm Reply

    so glad we found each other!! is was meant to be!!!


  21. 21

    L.R. M-J on September 30, 2009 at 2:30 am Reply

    I was looking for something different to make with the apples that are now coming out of our orchard…it was your dipping sauce that got me! As we're still in the throes of renovating here in the country, in France, my recipes have to be simple (camping kitchen and all that) but this one is screaming Fall, so going to whip it up this weekend. Thanks for the recipe & fab photos!!

  22. 22

    Live.Love.Eat on September 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm Reply

    These look awesome! I just had one this past weekend but I am sure it wasn't as good as the ones here.

  23. 23

    Snooky doodle on September 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm Reply

    wow these look so yummy. Thanks I really like the tutorial :)

  24. 24

    Jen T on September 30, 2009 at 6:43 pm Reply

    I am new to your blog. Found you through Jaime–love her. I made these today and they were gone in 30 minutes! Yummy!!! I think I will need to make them again tomorrow :)

  25. 25

    The Blonde Duck on October 1, 2009 at 4:39 am Reply

    I love the new look! And pretzels. The history lesson was awesome–it means I can have more pretzels after using all that brain power…

  26. 26

    Anonymous on October 2, 2009 at 8:27 am Reply

    You do know it's the "Stay Puff Marshmallow Man" not the "St. Puff Marshmallow Man" – don't you?

  27. 27

    Christina on October 2, 2009 at 9:39 am Reply

    These look so yummy! About how many will the recipe make?

  28. 28

    ConversationsWithACupcake on October 2, 2009 at 11:08 am Reply

    The recipe will make about 10-15 small/medium sized pretzels. It's definitely enough to serve your guests on football night.

    And, anonymous. Thank you so much for your edit check! You do know it's the STAY PUFT Marshmallow man, don't you? St. Puff was a bit of an inside joke for an old childhood friend, but I've now appropriately edited for content.

    Happy Baking!

  29. 29

    Joanna on October 5, 2009 at 9:47 am Reply

    These pretzels were so yummy and easy to make. The sauce too, is outrageous! Thanks for the recipe, my family enjoyed them tremendously.

  30. 30

    Anonymous on October 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm Reply

    ok, so now I can make rubber!
    not sure what when wrong, but a) like chewing rubber and not at all crusty, b) they do not come of the baking paper, it is now absorbed in to the pretzel and I had to cut the bottom off. Could it be 5 min in the kitchenaid that was too much for the dough? Some ended up being a little longer in the Bicarbonate bath, could it be this?
    thanks for any pointers.

  31. 31

    Nicole on July 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm Reply

    I know it's been a while since this post, but thought I'd try–anyone know how this dough would do if i made it a day before hand and kept it in the fridge?

  32. 32

    JehanP on November 9, 2010 at 10:04 am Reply

    I just made these and wow!! It is sensational! They are so soft and chewy at the same time, perfect texture. I made the cheese dip also and it is sooo flavorful! Thanks!!

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  34. 33

    Hayley on April 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm Reply

    Hey Brooke,
    I was reading the dipping sauce recipe and realized i don’t know what the measurement for the apple cider is. Maybe it is because I’m Canadian, but i don’t know what 1/1 cup is. Please help because my pregnant belly needs these now.

    • Brooke replied: — April 7th, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

      Hayley- Whoops! 1/1 isn’t a real measurment at all! Just tip 3-4 tablespoons of cider vinegar right in there. (approximately 1/4 cup, unless you don’t want a super vinegarey flavor. In that case, just reduce it a bit.) You’re pregnant belly is going to LOVE these!

  35. 34

    Erik on October 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm Reply

    While dipping in a baking soda wash is fine, please, PLEASE do no be put off by lye. It is really not as scary as it sounds, and yields authentic Bretzen that have a crispiness and bite you will not get with baking soda. For using lye, there are just three tips:
    1) Use food grad lye – easily obtainable on the web. I have my own preferred supplier, but I do not know your linking policies. Suffice to say, it is easy to find.
    2) Use common sense caution. Mix the lye 1/20 with water in a glass bowl in the sink, putting water in first and then adding lye. break up lye with steel spoon until dissolved and dip using rubber or latex gloves.
    3) I would recommend baking at 400 on parchment paper on a baking sheet, or 450 on a silicone mat on a baking sheet. Otherwise, the pretzels get hard to remove and the lye etches the pan.
    The lye itself undergoes a chemical reaction in the heat of the oven, breaking in to sodium (the Na) and water (the OH combines with H in the air, yielding H20). There is really nothing to fear once the pretzels are baked! Other than fantastic taste!

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