Oktoberfest Wood Fired PretzelsSep 05, 2018Posted by guestchefPrint
Served with stone ground mustard or a dip of smooth cheese sauce, who doesn’t love old world, soft German pretzels! This recipe is perfect for Oktoberfest and the fall season! We received it courtesy of guest chef, Anthony LaRocco, of Anthony’s Rustic Crust. He and his wife Debbie, run a mobile wood fired pizza concessionaire in Florida.
As with most baking, measuring by weight is more accurate and yields more consistent results than measuring by volume. This recipe is written mostly in terms of weight.
It does have a couple of other unique attributes.
- First, it is a two-day recipe utilizing a biga (a pre-ferment that adds depth and complexity to the dough’s flavor and also strengthens the final dough.) Note: Making a biga is not a difficult step to do, it just requires a bit of planning to give it time to rest overnight.
- Second, the recipe calls for the use of food-grade lye. You can order this ingredient from DudaDiesel.com. It costs around $6.00 and will last a very long time! Chef Anthony shares that “You can use baking soda instead, but it isn’t as good.” Note: Both lye and concentrated baking soda are caustic materials. Please be very careful when using them, and do not allow children to help with this step of the recipe.
Pretzels are one of those funny foods that have been with us for a long time. Legend says they were invented by an Italian monk in 610 A.D. They look like a ton of work on paper, but are actually pretty easy to make once you have practiced the flow a few times. We encourage you to give these delicious wood fired pretzels a chance in your kitchen and pizza oven! You won’t be sorry.
|15 Servings||30 - 45 min|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|6-8 min||2.5 - 3 hrs|
This is an old world German soft pretzel recipe tailored for baking in a wood fired oven. Crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, they are perfect for serving at a fall Oktoberfest party, or in a restaurant, or food truck!
When you are distributing the pretzels, you can ask if your guest would like it heated. Most of the time, they do! Simply pop it back in your brick oven for around 10 - 15 seconds and serve with a small cup of sweet, hot mustard or cheese sauce for dipping. They are very popular in restaurants, food trucks, and parties!
Chemistry note: The alkaline lye bath changes the color and flavor of the pretzels, affecting the way the Maillard reaction* plays out when the pretzel bakes. (*A Maillard reaction is the chemical interaction between small sugars, proteins, and amino acids that happens when dough bakes.) Lye baths have been used for centuries in traditional pretzel baking to give them their unique taste.
It is important to avoid touching the dough with your bare hands after dipping it into the lye mixture. Also, keep it off of aluminum surfaces because of the caustic nature of the chemical. Pretzels are safe to eat after cooking.
Lastly, a contribution from one of our Community members who has a bakery: "If you opt to use a baking soda bath instead of a lye bath, first bake your baking soda at 250°F for an hour before mixing it with the water. This gets the baking soda to brown better- one carbon molecule is baked off, and the baking soda turns grey- it works!"