Laugenbrotchen! (Pretzel rolls)

Happy Oktoberfest everyone!!

Last night my family had enjoyed an Oktoberfest celebration with a group of people.  Everyone was to bring in a dish of some sort, and oh my, it was a good time!  There was a stew, a soup, some pies, an apple crisp and pretzel rolls.   But where is the joy in calling them pretzel rolls?  It’s way more fun to call them by their German name – Laugenbrotchen!!

To get a good recipe on this, I resorted to the German Food Guide.  There, I learned quite a bit on the history of the pretzel.  Did you know the pretzel was invented by mistake?  The guide was very helpful, as it had a complete list of traditional foods eaten for Oktoberfest and the pretzel rolls caught my attention.  Why?  Well, it’s different, and to me, different is good.  I have never made them before, and thought a challenge would be fun.  You see, I have not had a lot of success with making breads, and trying this out with the deadline attached is a bit a pressure!  But there is something fun about that too.  Maybe I should go on a food challenge on TV?  Hmmm, in due time, I’m not there yet.

Ok, the recipe for Laugenbrotchen!

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

4 3/4 cups Bread Flour

1 package dry yeast

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup lukewarm water

For the Soda Water: (this is done in place of the old method of sodium hydroxide – yikes!)

4 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

For the Topping:

2 tablespoons coarse salt

Caraway Seeds, optional

Instructions:

Create a “starter” by mixing water, yeast, and 3-4 tablespoons of flour. The consistency of the Starter should be like a watery pancake batter. Let sit for 15 minutes. Small bubbles should begin to form. This shows that the yeast is alive.

To the Starter, add the remaining flour and salt. Knead until dough is smooth and soft. If dough is too dry, add a little bit more liquid. Likewise, if dough is too sticky, add a little bit more flour.

Let dough rest, covered and in a warm place, until it is double in size.

Knead dough one more time to remove all air bubbles that formed during the rising period. Divide dough into equal 3 ounce pieces. Form each dough piece into mini rolls. Let rolls rest for 15 minutes, covered and in a warm place.

While the rolls are resting, prepare the soda water. Do this by combining the baking soda, water, and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

Drop each roll in the hot soda water. As soon as it rises to the surface, remove it from the soda water and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat this step for each roll.

Sprinkle rolls with coarse salt and, optionally, caraway seeds. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes in a 425°F (220°C) oven.

Cheers!! 

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