Oktoberfest – Pretzel Time!

Well, it’s that time of year. Oktoberfest, the wedding-party-cum jaded beer festival that you can choose to celebrate in a number of ways. You can actually go (although I’ve been told this is not really recommended these days), design a new football shirt specifically to cynically rip off tourists and your dumb fans or just go a little German for the week and get going in the kitchen with some Oktoberfest-inspired, stomach-lining grub to soak up all that beer. Which is what we did last week.

So – first up, Pretzels. 

Well, they turned out a little thicker than I anticipated, but the dough was dense as a pretzel should be and they tasted excellent; moist, salty and incredibly moreish. Here’s what you do: take 300g of Plain Flour, and sift it into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Warm 200g of Milk in the microwave – about a minute should be fine – and to that, add a packet of dried, active yeast, and a dollop of Honey.

Yes, I know Honey isn’t particularly authentic, but that yeast needs a little sweetness and sugar’s a bit dull isn’t it? Give the milk, yeast and honey a stir and let that bubble up. When frothy, add to the flour, mix, and when you get a dough, give it a bit of a roll until you get a pliable ball. Pop back in the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour. Go have a beer.

When you return, the dough will have risen so you can then knock it back, and knead well – you want a satiny, silky feel to the dough. Roll out into tubes, about 30 cm long, and then twist into the pretzel shape. Heat your oven to 175c, and  – here’s the part that you really don’t want to miss out of the process: bring a pan of water to the boil, and drop your pretzels into it for a minute or so before putting on your baking tray. Boiling them gives you that nice glaze on the outside, whilst keeping the insides moist. If you use eggwash, you’ll get a hard, french-bread type exterior; which is fine if you want that but I personally prefer chewiness.

Boil all your Pretzels, sprinkle with Salt (or whatever you want, really. Caraway seeds seem popular in some parts) and place on a greased tray to bake. Keep an eye on them, and they’ll take about 10- 15 minutes to bake.


We enjoyed ours with some Sausage, Ham and Mustard, and lots of cold, cold Augustiner Brau Edelstoff (5.6%abv), which had tonnes of sweetness and a lovely, soft mouthfeel that ensured it disappeared quickly down our throats and complimented the simple sweetness and smoke of the meat and bread perfectly.

About leighgoodstuff

Blog: https://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 26/09/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Brushing with a bicarbonate of soda solution, or adding it to the boiling water, adds a flavour that’s hard to nail otherwise.

    Have you noticed, too, that Tesco are now selling reasonably convincing looking pretzels. What is the world coming to?

  2. I love the tesco pretzels that Bailey mentions but the best ones have to be the fresh ones in LIDL of all places, their new instore bakeries are brilliant…no seriously they are

    I’ve got a recipe for pretzels kicking around that i keep meaning to try but haven’t got round to it..this might have just spurred me on…well once v2 of my homebrew is out of the way.

  3. I love the idea of a mini Oktoberfest at home.

    The pretzels look great. I think to be truly authentic tasting you would have to consider the use of Lye i.e. a dilute mixture of caustic Soda, (NaOH) and water. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the use of such strong chemicals in cooking – keep them for clearing the drains….

    The Tesco pretzels are really good BTW

    • Hi Rob – yes, that Lye solution was something I looked into but really, really could not be bothered working with. It’s so bizarre, isn’t it?

      • Hi Leigh.

        Yes it does seem a bit strange. I guess we are more familiar with acid flavours,like Vinegar and Lemon rather than alkaline or soapy flavours.

        Interestingly the finish on some (but not all) ‘tiger’ bread is derived from bird feathers. Now that is bizarre.

      • I know they put some peanut oil on the Tiger Bread in Morrisons – I asked the bakers!

  4. Leigh, I tried these out today and the results were excellent, good looking finish and nice and soft inside. I didn’t realise how ‘fat’ they would go when baking them so they ended up more like bagels and pretzels!

    I’m definitely going to try these again soon, my tips to other trying it out is roll it out thinner than you think they need to be, and add a touch more salt than you think to give that try salty flavour.

    I shaped mine into a B (for Baron), if the next batch works out better then expect chilli pretzels, choc chip pretzels, etc.

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