Daniel Magg is an Electronics Engineer here at F&P. He previously worked in our Dunedin office – where he contributed his Baumkuchen recipe and now he resides in Auckland. I know Daniel as a guy who makes strong coffees, likes football and has a very dry sense of humour.
He’s also a good cook. I wondered whether this recipe for pretzels was a family secret, passed down through generations of Magg’s. He said no…and that was that. Here’s Daniel’s story.
I remember a discussion with my school friends about the proper orientation of a Pretzel. I was of the firm opinion that the big piece with the cut in it (called the belly) was meant to be at the bottom. This makes it look like a smiley face, an edible emotiocon. Well, turns out I was wrong. My friends pointed me to the common emblem of a South German bakery, a Pretzel, but an upside down one.
While that might have left me shattered for a little bit, it certainly hasn’t changed my appetite for this delicous snack. The buttered Pretzel is an all time classic. A ham filling goes well the lye flavour of the Pretzel. But the best way to truly enjoy them, is with a half litre jug of beer and Bavarian white sausages in a beer tent during October Fest.
makes 8 pretzels--
500g flour (white)
250ml tepid water
20g lard or butter, softened
1000ml 4% sodium hydroxide solution (food grade)
Sodium hydroxide alternative
3 tbsp baking soda
1. Place flour, salt and lard or butter in a bowl.
2. Into the tepid water add sugar and yeast. Cover this with a tea towel and wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to foam.
3. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth.
4. Rest dough for 30 minutes, covered and in a warm, dark place.
5. Knead dough again and divide into 8 equal portions.
6. Roll each portion into a long sausage shape, 30cm in length. Note that they will spring back slightly.
7. Once all are rolled, re-roll into a sausage, 60cm in length. You want to keep them fatter in the centre (forming the belly of the pretzel) and tapered out towards the ends.
8. Form the pretzel shape: Take one sausage. Make an upside-down U in front of you. Take the two ends and cross them over. Take the two ends and cross them over once more. Take the two ends and bring them up to the to the top (belly) of the prezel. Attach the ends by wetting with a little water and pressing down (note they do not stick down well at this stage). Repeat with each sausage.
9. Place the dough portions onto a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
10. Wearing gloves and protective eye wear and mask, dip dough portions into the sodium hydroxide solution (for 10 seconds each) and place on a lined oven tray (a silicone mat is best).
If you are using the sodium hydroxide solution:
Bring water to the boil and add baking soda. Dip each pretzel into the boiling hot water for 30 seconds.
8. Rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200ºC on Bake.
9. Cut the belly of each pretzel 5mm deep. Sprinkle with course sea salt and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown).