rants & recipes

Laugenbrezel - German Lye Pretzels

Posted by ataraktos on 2011-07-31

Evin decided to make pretzels ... traditional ones, lye bath and all. They turned out amazingly well. And incredibly delicious!

These are perfectly safe to eat (though not necessarily safe to make)... most of the lye water drains off the pretzels; what remains starts to gelatinize the dough immediately, so it's not like much water soaks into the dough. The heat from baking "uses up" the rest of the lye and probably, come to think of it, creates tiniest amounts of soap with the oil! And soap is safe to eat, right? But trust me, these are better.

Disclaimer - Lye is very dangerous. Do not try this at home!

Combine, and allow to sit 5 minutes:
  • 355 grams water at 110°F
  • 12 grams malted barley
  • 10 grams kosher salt
  • 7 grams active dry yeast
Add and mix until well combined:
  • 620 grams all-purpose flour
  • 56 grams vegan margarine, melted

Knead for 4 minutes. Dough will be sticky.

Transfer to greased bowl and let rise, covered, for 50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Divide dough into eight, 132 gram pieces and place on greased surface. Roll dough into squares; roll up into ropes; roll out thin (24-inches long). Form pretzels, placing on sheet pans lined with greased parchment paper. Let rise 15 minutes, covered with damp towels.

Dip individually in lye bath for 30 seconds each, placing back on parchment:
  • 750 grams water
  • 30 grams lye

They will look like wrinkly pre-digested dough wads; this is okay. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake 14 minutes at 450°F, turning the sheet pans halfway through.

Ingredients adapted from this recipe with lye concentration from this recipe.