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Other than Brewing => All Things Food => Topic started by: flapjack on August 13, 2010, 04:07:25 PM

Title: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: flapjack on August 13, 2010, 04:07:25 PM
I had some leftover beer pizza dough and decided to experiment using it to make soft pretzels.

-I equally portioned the dough and rolled out each piece into long ropes
-shaped them into pretzel form, placed them on a greased sheet pan. refrigerated for 2 hours
-preheated the oven to 450F
-boiled 1 quart of water. slowly added 1/8 C of baking soda & 2 tsp salt
-dropped pretzel into water for 15-20 seconds on each side
-place on greased baking sheet, sprinkled with Red Hawaiian sea salt
-baked for 15 minutes
(http://by139w.bay139.mail.live.com/att/GetAttachment.aspx?tnail=0&messageId=67356017-36c1-4162-978d-cf5152e5f843&Aux=44|0|8CD08B0BE58E0B0||0|0|0||&maxwidth=220&maxheight=160&size=Att)
a little more airy inside than the traditionally denser pretzel but tasted great
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: bluesman on August 13, 2010, 04:12:38 PM
Sounds great.  Beer and pretzels are a match made in heaven!
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: denny on August 13, 2010, 04:31:52 PM
Jeff Renner has a classic pretzel recipe that he's posted through the years.  Jeff is a pro baker, so you KNOW it's gonna be good!


Jeff Renner’s pretzel recipe

From an old Homebrew Digest:

This recipe works well in a large mixer or food processor, and I have
formatted the recipe for this (see note for hand).

***********

Recipe
German Soft Pretzels
Makes 1 dozen

o 2 packets dry baker’s yeast
o 1/4 cup water 105-115 degrees F (40-45C)
o 1 ounce dry milk powder
o 3 ounces shortening
o 1/4 cup sugar
o 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
o 19 ounces all purpose flour (about 4 cups)
o enough additional water to make a soft dough – about 1 cup (note -
my notes say 3/4 cup, but I think this is a mistake – I’ll make up a
batch sometime soon and check).

Rehydrate the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water and a pinch of sugar.
Be sure to use a container like a plastic cup that won’t suck all the
heat away. It should foam up in a few minutes.

Mix the rest of the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl or food
processor *. Add the yeast water when it’s well hydrated and foamy,
then turn on the mixer or processor and add water until you get a
soft dough. Continue mixing according to manufacturer’s instructions
until well kneaded.

* If you make the dough by hand, add the rehydrated yeast and other
ingredients with half the flour to a large bowl, stir with a wooden
spoon until mixed, then stir in as much of the rest of the flour as
possible, then turn out onto a work surface and knead in enough of
the rest of the flour to get a soft dough and knead it until it is
elastic and smooth, about five minutes.

Let the dough rise covered until doubled, probably 30 minutes with
all this yeast.

Now prepare the lye water. Put cold water in a non-reactive pot, add
1 tablespoon lye crystals (like Red Devil) for each quart. Add the
lye to the water, not the other way around! Use normal precautions.
You’re big boys and girls. Bring to a simmer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When the dough is doubled, divide into 12 equal pieces, roll out into
18″ lengths, then twist into pretzel shape. This is easy to do but
hard to describe with pictures.

Start with the dough in an upside-down “U”, then cross the legs twice
into a double twist. Next flip the top down over the legs and press
each part of the loop onto the legs where they cross, making a tack
weld.

Set aside on a towel and shape the rest of the pieces. Then starting
with the first one and using a slotted ladle or spatula (not your
fingers), immerse each pretzel in the simmering lye water for 30
seconds to one minute. They should expand and begin to float.
Remove it and place on a wet tea-towel to drain and sprinkle with
pretzel salt.

Now arrange on prepared cookie sheet (you will probably need to use
two cookie sheets and bake one at a time) and bake until done. In my
oven, this takes about 9 minutes. While they are cooling a bit, pour
yourself a well deserved pint and then enjoy the pretzels.

These freeze quite well when cool. Thaw them and pop them into the
oven to reheat or gently microwave them if you must.

- —
Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: bluesman on August 13, 2010, 04:38:12 PM
I might have to give that one a try Denny.  I hear the oven design is key to making them crispy on the outside but yet keeping them soft in the middle.  Brick ovens are supposedly best. 

However that won't stop me from trying them in my gas fired oven on a pizza stone.   8)

Thanks to Jeff for the recipe.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 05:01:24 PM
One of my favorite things to do with Jeff's recipe is sub the water for the pretzel with a doppelbock or helles bock. Damn fine.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: flapjack on August 13, 2010, 09:15:17 PM
Thanks Denny! I will definitely try Jeffs recipe next
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: denny on August 13, 2010, 09:42:52 PM
According to Jeff, the lye is the key.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 10:06:04 PM
Yup and thanks to Jeff's insistence I have to keep hunting around for lye online now that Red Devil doesn't sell straight lye drain cleaner anymore.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: richardt on August 13, 2010, 10:10:24 PM
Why lye?  (sounds like a pun, but I'm being serious/curious).
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 10:35:08 PM
Dipping the high protein dough (the milk powder adds extra protein) causes a change in the protein and sugar structures at the surface and starts cooking them. That allows for the development of that extra chewy super brown crust.

You can do the same thing with say baking soda, but it's not as effective.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: thirsty on August 13, 2010, 11:02:24 PM
Let us know you find the lye.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 11:57:06 PM
It ain't the cheapest but damned if Amazon doesn't have like an endless supply of everything.

Microbead Lye on Amazon  (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EDBEZM?ie=UTF8&tag=stoutguycom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001EDBEZM)
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: abraxas on August 14, 2010, 01:30:05 AM
http://www.aaa-chemicals.com/sodium-hydroxide.html

I've bought from here before...a couple of lbs lasts a few years.  We make pretzels on Christmas, my mom makes me leave the container in her garage though....
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on August 14, 2010, 02:10:13 PM
I had some leftover beer pizza dough and decided to experiment using it to make soft pretzels.

-I equally portioned the dough and rolled out each piece into long ropes
-shaped them into pretzel form, placed them on a greased sheet pan. refrigerated for 2 hours
-preheated the oven to 450F
-boiled 1 quart of water. slowly added 1/8 C of baking soda & 2 tsp salt
-dropped pretzel into water for 15-20 seconds on each side
-place on greased baking sheet, sprinkled with Red Hawaiian sea salt
-baked for 15 minutes
(http://by139w.bay139.mail.live.com/att/GetAttachment.aspx?tnail=0&messageId=67356017-36c1-4162-978d-cf5152e5f843&Aux=44|0|8CD08B0BE58E0B0||0|0|0||&maxwidth=220&maxheight=160&size=Att)
a little more airy inside than the traditionally denser pretzel but tasted great


Sounds good!  I made soft pretzels last weekend and used Red Hawaiian sea salt too.  It's a nice pretzel salt.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: denny on August 14, 2010, 04:02:14 PM
Sounds good!  I made soft pretzels last weekend and used Red Hawaiian sea salt too.  It's a nice pretzel salt.

The red Hawaiian salt is the new hot, trendy salt.  I got some in a salt sampler for my birthday last year.  It _is_ a really good salt, though.  I think my favorite that I've run across is Cyprus flake.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: thirsty on August 14, 2010, 08:30:22 PM
Ok, this I will have to try. Thanks for the lye links.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Jeff Renner on August 17, 2010, 01:34:00 PM
Dipping the high protein dough (the milk powder adds extra protein) causes a change in the protein and sugar structures at the surface and starts cooking them. That allows for the development of that extra chewy super brown crust.

You can do the same thing with say baking soda, but it's not as effective.

The lye also produces the distinctive pretzel flavor.  It can be done with baking soda, as you say, and it works pretty well if you use lots of it.  Like maybe 1/2 cup in a quart.  Maybe even more.  This also makes a safe, fun project with kids.

Glad to see enthusiasm for this old recipe, which came to me second hand from an old German baker here in Ann Arbor more than 30 years ago.  I got it from another baker who started his business making these pretzels for Michigan football games.  He would make many dozens and put them on a long dowel and sell them for a dollar to the crowds (>100,000) going into the Big House on Saturday afternoons.

I used to make dozens of these for our elementary school ice cream socials back in the 80's.  I would get three or four parent volunteers to help in my little wholesale bakery in my attached garage, and kids on bikes would relay them to the school three blocks away.  I think we made 18 dozen one year.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on August 17, 2010, 04:16:53 PM
Glad to see enthusiasm for this old recipe...

Jeff, the enthusiasm is there because it is a truly awesome pretzel and you're awesome for sharing it and not hoarding it.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: bluesman on August 17, 2010, 04:28:57 PM
Glad to see enthusiasm for this old recipe...

Jeff, the enthusiasm is there because it is a truly awesome pretzel and you're awesome for sharing it and not hoarding it.

I'll second that notion and I am definitely going to give this one a try soon.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: bonjour on August 17, 2010, 04:34:57 PM
Salt Sampler,  send me some info on that.  My wife is an addict (of salt)
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: denny on August 19, 2010, 10:00:42 PM
Salt Sampler,  send me some info on that.  My wife is an addict (of salt)


It was a gift from a friend who got it in either PDX or Seattle.  I'll see if I can find out where and let ya know.  It's got Sel Gris (not too hard to find), Cyprus Flake (my fave), oak and alder smoked sea salt, Himalayan pink, and Alaea red Hawaiian
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on August 19, 2010, 10:33:17 PM
Speaking of specialty salt, my brother did a bourbon tour of Kentucky a few months ago and bought me some bourbon smoked sea salt and bourbon smoked pepper.  I've been waiting for the right dry-aged ribeye to come along to do-si-do with the smoked seasonings...mmmmm.   8)
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: riverrat on August 31, 2012, 06:13:41 PM
Back from the dead!

I made these last year with the baking soda/water substitute for lye.  If using this:
http://www.essentialdepot.com/servlet/the-2/2-lbs-Food-Grade/Detail

Is the measurement the same on the quantity of lye to use from the recipe (1 Tablespoon lye crystal/ quart of water)? 

Looking to make these in 2 weeks (Mpls locals can probably figure out why).

Also, if one were to want a cheese stuffed pretzel, how would one go about doing this?
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Slowbrew on August 31, 2012, 07:13:59 PM
Another good recipe that use often is from Alton Brown. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-soft-pretzels-recipe/index.html

You can get lye at most Ace Hardware stores and farm stores that stock supplies for home canning too.

Paul
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on September 08, 2012, 12:15:00 AM
Lye is the secret weapon for me.  It really provides the outer texture and taste that a soft pretzel should have, IMO.

At my third annual Oktoberfest party this year, we're rolling out a whole new animal...pretzel buns for our brats!!

Here a pic of the prototype.  It's a brat with German horseradish mustard and an onion and apple chutney sauteed in lots of butter.  Holy balls if this didn't taste like manna from heaven!
(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/DSCN0685.jpg)
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: riverrat on September 10, 2012, 07:59:45 PM
So no info on how to stuff a pretzel or if the lye crystals measure out the same as the lye in Jeff Renner's recipe?  Some one has to have some ideas!
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: Slowbrew on September 10, 2012, 08:25:29 PM
So no info on how to stuff a pretzel or if the lye crystals measure out the same as the lye in Jeff Renner's recipe?  Some one has to have some ideas!

I found this on Food Network.  I can't speak to how well it works for making a stuffed pretzel.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/how-to-make-stuffed-pretzels/pictures/index.html

I haven't used lye so I can't answer that one.

Paul
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: punatic on September 10, 2012, 08:46:26 PM
Jeff Renner has a classic pretzel recipe that he's posted through the years.  Jeff is a pro baker, so you KNOW it's gonna be good!

I was inspired to make pretzels when Jeff's article appeared in Zymurgy all those years ago.  I've been making them ever since.  They are awesome!  Very simular to the ones in Bavaria.

There's only one problem - no matter how many I make, it is never enough.  They disappear very quickly.

FWIW I use the same lye for pretzel-making as I do for soapmaking.


The red Hawaiian salt is the new hot, trendy salt.  I got some in a salt sampler for my birthday last year.  It _is_ a really good salt, though.

Hot?  yes.  New and trendy?  Not so much.  It's been a staple here for hundreds of years.  I collect my own from high tidepools on the Puna Coast.  A bit of work, but fun to do, and the salt is very tasty.  It's amazing the wonderful foods that one can find here in Hawaii, just there for the taking (legally).
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: theoman on September 11, 2012, 02:22:00 PM
Now that I have a house with an oven and stuff, I'm excited to give these a try.

I do have one question: How much yeast is in "two packets?"
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: dbeechum on September 11, 2012, 03:27:12 PM
You know.. I had to go look that up since everyone just says "packets" :)

According to Cook's Thesaurus (http://www.foodsubs.com/LeavenYeast.html), a packet of Active dried yeast  is 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1/4 ounce.
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: theoman on October 23, 2012, 08:31:40 AM
I forgot to report back - I gave this recipe a try and they were delicious! My only complaint is that the pretzels were maybe a little too light and fluffy. I'm thinking they raised too much again before boiling. I'll try it again and boil right away after shaping the pretzels.

An aside - I joined an informal baking club at work. The idea is that we all go to a different host's house and they walk us through baking their specialty or a favorite something. I plan to do pretzels at my place when my latest homebrew is ready. Change it up a bit for these ladies (I'm the only man in the group).
Title: Re: Soft Beer Pretzel
Post by: phillamb168 on October 23, 2012, 09:30:12 AM
Ladies better be careful now that your house smells of rich mahogany and you've got that new fireplace in.