Laugenbrezel (Traditional German Pretzels)
At the Hofbrauhaus beer hall in Munich, these giant pretzels, which have a similar chew to bagels, are served with soft butter.
Yield: makes 2 Large Pretzels
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. barley malt syrup (available from Shop Organic)
- 1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for serving
- 4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. baking soda
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Heat a baking stone in an oven to 500°. Stir together syrup, yeast, and 1½ cups warm water in a large bowl, and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add butter, flour, and salt, and stir until dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Halve dough, and working with one piece at a time, roll dough into a 4' rope, about 1" thick. Transfer rope to the bottom edge of a sheet of parchment paper, and keeping the center of the rope on the paper, pick up both ends, cross one end over the other, about 2" from the ends, and twist; attach each end to the sides of the pretzel. Repeat with remaining dough, and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
- Bring baking soda and 1 cup water to a simmer in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until baking soda dissolves. Brush each pretzel generously with the baking soda solution, sprinkle with coarse salt, and using a sharp paring knife, make a 6" slash, about ¼" deep across the bottom edge of the pretzel. Working one at a time, slide pretzel on parchment paper onto the stone; bake until dark brown, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining pretzel. Let cool for about 10 minutes; serve warm with butter.