A Laugenbrezel is a traditional German dough specialty which is baked in the form of a pretzel loop. The particularity about this type of pretzel is that it is dipped in a lye solution before it is put into the oven. This creates a chemical reaction that gives the pretzel its typical appearance and taste. Laugenbrezel have their roots in the southern parts of Germany, especially in the federal state of Bavaria. Bakeries usually sell them in their plain form with coarse salt or with a layer of butter. The traditional pretzels are a great snack for in-between as well as a side for many Bavarian dishes such as Weißwurst or Obatzter. Going one step further, the looped pastry even serves as the base ingedient for another very traditional Bavarian dish called Brezenknödel.
Although, Laugenbrezel have conquered the entire country and are popular with Germans in general nowadays, the best pretzels can still be found in the south.
In addition to pretzels, this method of using lye can be used for any type of baked goods such as rolls or bread sticks. You will find these popular baked goods in any German bakery or you can simply try making them yourself! Here is our simple and authentic recipe:
Laugenbrezel (Lye Pretzels)
500 g flour
1 Pack dry yeast
1/4 tea spoon sugar
350 ml milk (lukewarm)
salt (finely ground)
1 1/2 liter water
2 table spoons baking soda (mostly found in the spice department in supermarkets)
coarse salt for besprinkling
Mix flour with the yeast and the sugar
Add the milk and salt and knead it to prepare a smooth yeast dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for approx. 45 min. until the volume of the dough has doubled.
Knead the dough a few more times, shape it into a roll of about 20cm and place it on a board besprinkled with flour.
Cut the roll into 10-12 even pieces and shape each of them into long strings again.
Intertwine the strings in a way to form the shape of pretzels.
Boil 1.5 liters of water in a pot. Add 2 table spoons of baking soda and let it boil for 10 min.
Now put the raw pretzels into the boiling lye and let them cook for 20-30 sec while plunging them into the water again for a few times.
Now take out the pretzels and let them drain.
Then, place the pretzels on a baking tray (covered with grease or baking paper) and besprinkle them with the coarse salt (it is also very tasty to replace the salt with sesame, cheese or poppy seeds).
Bake the pretzels at 180°C for approx. 25-30 min.
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Brezel by superscheeli, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0