Miele Bavarian Soft Pretzels
The beloved knots of dough we know today as pretzels have a history that dates clear back to the seventh century. An unleavened bread made of only flour, salt and water, pretzels were originally a soft, pliable bread similar to the modern pretzel, but without the doughy, yeasty leavening we've come to know and love.
Some historians believe our favorite twisted treats were originally called “bracellae,” the Latin term for “little arms,” from which Germans supposedly later derived the word “bretzel.” Others argue that the original pretzels were called “pretiolas,” meaning “little rewards,” and were given by monks as rewards to their students. Pretzel popularity made its way across Europe during the Middle Ages, and rumor has it that pretzels made their way to the New World with the pilgrims via the Mayflower. Possibly, but a more likely story holds German immigrants as the culprit, as they brought pretzels with them while settling in Pennsylvania.
Whatever their origin, pretzels certainly are "little rewards," both in consumption (with a good amount of butter and coarse kosher salt, no less) and the baking process.
Our twist on the traditional Bavarian soft pretzel involves an inventive use of the Miele Combi-Steam oven; something they definitely didn't have during the Middle Ages. Here's to technology—and a modern spin on a classic food with a long, winding, twisty history!
- Servings 25 servings
- Dish Appetizer
- Time 35 minutes
- Skill Professional
Miele Bavarian Soft Pretzels ingredients
Miele Bavarian Soft Pretzels
In a small bowl or stand mixer, combine the yeast with 1 1/4 cups warm water and set aside. (Make sure the water is warm enough to proof the yeast, but not too warm that it will kill it; it should be between 105 and 110 degrees F.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, measure 3 cups of the flour. Add the sugar and salt. Using the paddle attachment on a low speed, add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.
Switch to the dough hook on your stand mixer and knead the dough for 7–10 minutes. The dough should be sticky, but not tacky. Add up to another cup of flour if needed.
Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand for 3 minutes, folding it over itself and turning a quarter-turn each time. Place dough in a large bowl coated with butter or cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Proof for at least 1 hour or up to 1 1/2 hours.
Once the proof is complete, divide the dough into 8–10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a log. Let dough rest for a few minutes, then shape the logs until they are approximately 24 inches in length. You can easily stretch the dough by holding each end and twirling it.
In a bowl, combine baking soda and the 1/4 cup water. Dip each piece of dough into the baking soda and water mixture; this is what gives the pretzels their distinct dark brown color.
Now, shape the logs into a pretzel shape. First create a U with the dough. Take the tip ends of the U and cross them over one another two times. Then take the ends of the U and fold them over to the bottom of the U, pressing them gently in place. Place the pretzels on two Combi-Steam universal trays. Slide the trays into the first and second runners. Fill the water reservoir and program the oven.
Choose Operating Mode, Combi-Mode and Convection Bake at 215 degrees F with 100% moisture for 8 minutes. Add a second stage: Combi-Mode Convection Bake 400 degrees F with 60% moisture for 10 minutes. Start Now.
While pretzels are baking, melt 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a small bowl and set aside.
Once the program is completed, open the oven (do not turn off), brush each pretzel with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt. Place trays back in oven and select add an additional program: 425 degrees F with 0% moisture for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pretzels from the oven and, if you like, brush with additional butter.