FEATURE RECIPE: OMA’S TRADITIONAL GERMAN PRETZELS
The following recipe was provided by Kenzie Fraioli. This is her story and her recipe, adapted from her Oma’s recipe. I had the privilege of taking a pretzel-making “class” with Kenzie – and trust me, these are GOOD
When my husband was turning 28, I decided to throw him an Oktoberfest-themed party, and my first thought was the smell of Omas pretzels baking in the oven over 25 years ago. Today, three generations later, the recipe is long gone because there never was one written down. A handful of flour here, a sprinkle of sugar there was all that ever happened. Fast forward a couple of years and a couple of test runs. We got the smell back into our home and now for yours as well! Enjoy
SERVINGS [8 PRETZELS]
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking soda for each cup of water
Sea salt for sprinkling
In a bowl, mix together the warm water and yeast until smooth. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes.
To a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, and the yeast mixture. If using a KitchenAid, use the dough hook until the dough comes together, then remove and knead until smooth. If you are combining the ingredients by hand, knead until the dough comes together in a ball and continue to knead until smooth (approximately 10 minutes). Add more flour as needed. If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water or melted butter until it reaches desired consistency. Whether you are using a KitchenAid or you are manually kneading the dough, add the salt into the dough mixture last, since salt kills yeast.
Oil a large bowl. Once you are done kneading the dough, place it in the large bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rest in a warm, dry, and dark place, until it has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Bring a deep pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of baking soda (approximately 3 tablespoons per cup of water). Stir until the baking soda dissolves. Turn off the burner so that the water remains hot but is not boiling. The more baking soda you add, the more brown and crunchy the outside of your pretzels will be. I prefer mine to be less brown, so I add approximately 3 tablespoons of baking soda per cup of water, but adjust based on your preference.
Once the dough is ready, it’s time to make your pretzels! Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 1/2 inch and circular (like a pizza). Cut into 8 even triangles (like pizza slices). Then, starting on the narrow end of each triangle, roll the dough up like a crescent roll. Use your hands to roll the dough out into long, narrow ropes (approximately 18-20 inches long).
Form each rope of dough into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough has been shaped, dunk each pretzel into the baking soda water and place on a greased, parchment-lined baking sheet (or two). Sprinkle the pretzels with course sea salt.
Bake until the pretzels are golden brown (approximately 15-20 minutes). Brush on melted butter. You can serve the pretzels immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days. For an authentic German experience, serve pretzels with German mustard and enjoy!