I checked my email with the SRC assignment while on my way back from Phoenix, on our four hour drive to our small mining town.

As soon as I clicked on the link Jane (our group’s hostess and such a dedicated member) sent me, I was literally bowled over by the ingenuity of the dishes Allesio’s blog had. Seriously it was like reading the menu of some Michelin starred restaurant. Case in point- Dark chocolate eggplant. Seriously, who thinks of that!!

There is no bound to the creativity on his site. But honestly, I was intimidated as hell. Having never worked with half of the ingredients on the site, I couldn’t help it. But at the same time, I was loving the challenge ahead.

Just check his top 24 of 2012 list. Seriously, if you are not intimidated its only because you are a professional chef and even then I won’t blame you if you are taking notes!

After drooling over his various photographs and increasing my knowledge pool of recipes, I narrowed on something that I knew I could make and would enjoy making at the same time.

Brezeln is german for soft pretzels.  As bread, Brezeln are very versatile  with toppings varying from melted crunchy cheese, garlic butter, herbs or seeds and are mostly served as a savory snack. Check out Allesio’s post to know a little more about its history.

A version of Brezeln is Bierbrezeln or big doughy dark brown knots made from beer.

Dark beer has naturally a deeper more complex flavor and beer also enhances the yeast activity for a faster proofing time. Since they don’t get the dipping in the alkali solution like traditional pretzels, these Bierbrezeln are glazed with an egg wash like normal pastries. The more coats you brush on them, the shinier and darker they will be.

I’ve never made pretzels before. I’ve eaten very few soft pretzels- Aunty Annes’ salted pretzels and really do like them.

Pretzels actually gets their distinctive flavor from boiling the buns in baking soda water. When the soda reacts with the water, it aerates the yeasted dough into puffiness and imparts the flavor as well. But Alessio’s version did not require any boiling. One less step. Plus (and a BIG plus) it involved beer! I was totally sold!

I did not have dark beer and just used what I had. Plus, I did not know where to use the butter called for in the original recipe, so I skipped that ingredient altogether and honestly I do not miss it in the pretzels. Either way its just 10 grams so you could add it in and I am assuming it goes into the dough.

The shape of the Pretzel is thought to resemble folded arms during prayers, and the three holes in it are supposed to represent the Holy Trinity. Apparently, the Holy Trinity did not want to bless my pretzels.

I knotted them twice and that’s why I assume I did not get the traditional shape. next time, one knot it shall be.

Whatever the shape, these tasted great. In fact I am snacking on one while writing this post!


Schwäbische Bierbrezeln or Soft Beer Pretzels

Recipe Type: bread, snack, side
Author: adapted from Recipe taste
Prep time: 50 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 8 rolls
Ingredients
  • 250 gms all purpose flour (I used a mix of bread flour and AP flour)
  • 10 gm (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 130 ml dark beer
  • 1 tsp salt

For the glaze:

  • 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp dark beer

To sprinkle on top:

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Nigella seeds

Instructions
  1. In a bowl add the yeast and sugar to the beer, along with some flour. Mix well and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining flour and salt into the yeast mixture. Knead to make a smooth and elastic dough.
  3. Coat the dough with some oil and cover the bowl with a wet cloth. Let proof for 30 minutes.
  4. Put two racks in the oven- one in the middle and the other below it.
  5. Preheat oven to 220C / 430F.
  6. While the oven preheats, punch the risen dough down. Knead it for a while.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 portions.
  8. Roll each piece into as long a sausage as possible with thin extremities. Form them into a Brezeln or pretzel shape and place on a parchment line baking tray.
  9. Brush each roll with the glaze, and sprinkle some seeds on top. Pat the seeds into the dough with your hands.
  10. Put a shallow container filled with boiling water into the lower rack of the oven. On the middle rack put the baking tray.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, or until nice and dark and sounding hollow when lightly tapped.
  12. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve while still warm.



34 Thoughts on “July SRC: Soft Beer Pretzels!

  1. Hi Shumaila, WOW these look fabulous! I have always wanted to try to make pretzels and now with your photographs and directions to guide me, it might be the right time ;o) Wanted to let you know that the person who had your blog asked me to add her post to the blog hop, but it is missing a link so I can’t get it to go live. BUT it is up on her blog and here is the link! http://groundcherry.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/aloo-patties/

  2. Mmmm, nothing beats a pretzel straight out of the oven. Those are gorgeous!

  3. These look SO good – and would be SO dangerous in my house!

  4. What lovely looking pretzels! I actually like my pretzels to be tight little knots like this, rather than the traditional shape, so these are right up my alley. Love the fact that the dough is enhanced with dark beer, too.

  5. wow! my husband would LOVE these, will have to give him the recipes since I have a beer allergy :-( Great SRC pick and amazing pictures!!

    • No way- you are allergic to beer! That sucks! I love beer!! I don’t love the calories it comes with but I love beer. Your husband should definitely try these!

  6. Vicky on 9 July, 2012 at 10:53 am said:

    Great photos.Can’t wait to taste!!!!

  7. Wow, these pretzels look wonderful! And I love the step by step photos – really instructive :-). Great post and great pic for SRC!

  8. Beautiful Beer pretzels, I love homemade bread a lot.Nice click.

  9. I’m intimidated by anyone who can make or work with bread dough of any kind so I’m totally impressed by your pretzels, they look gorgeous. Nice pick.

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my SRC entry Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

    Lisa~~
    Cook Lisa Cook

  10. Hups! Did I forget my butter somewhere?? In effect it looks like I did lol I corrected the recipe now, thanks for pointing it out to me :D

    Your pretzels look really yummy!! What did you eat them with?? ;-) Glad you appreciated my blog, no reason to be intimidated by my recipes though once you start playing you can’t stop lol

    • I ate them with two chilled glasses of beer! :) :)

      I thought of making a aioli of sorts, but the moment they came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist and pop went one in my mouth and like clockwork came out a bottle of beer. I mean, it was perfect!

  11. these pretzels are beautiful!

  12. yum… pretzels and beer!

  13. Soft pretzels have been on my list forever, but I have yet to attempt them. This beer variety sounds great. Thinking I better get busy trying these!

  14. Wow, they turned out so pretty. And any variety of homemade bread is absolute heaven–I’m sure I would cry when the last one was gone! lol

    • Well, I won’t blame you if you cry because I did! In fact my husband had the last piece and I gave him such a mean glare. Thankfully he didn’t notice else it wouldn’t have been pretty!

  15. Those are some absolutely gorgeous pretzels! I’ve always been intimidated by pretzels, which is silly, because I’ve made bagels before and did the whole boiling thing with little issue. But I really like the idea of this one without the boiling step.

    • Pfftt.. if you have made bagels at home then you have these under control! Do, do try them. And then open another bottle of beer and sip that while eating these!

  16. So incredibly gorgeous! They look like fluffy balls of carboholic goodness, love it!

  17. These pretzels look fabulous!
    Using dark beer – it’s something I just have to try.
    I’m pinning this

  18. teaandscones on 13 July, 2012 at 7:59 pm said:

    Love pretzels. Love these. They look great!!

  19. Pretzels are one of my favorite snacks. These look simple to make as well, which is always a plus.

  20. wow.. beautiful looking soft pretzels. so tempting.

  21. Wonderful looking pretzels! This is something I’ve not tried myself – they are tempting me ;)

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