Pretzels!

When I attended the Quest for Sourdough workshop in St. Vith, Belgium (home of the only sourdough library), I filmed many of the bakers as they worked. Here are two videos showing how to shape pretzels and the dipping of the pretzel dough in food grade lye. Manfred Enoksson gave the demonstration. At the bottom of the page you will find two formulas for pretzels, one by Manfred Enoksson and one by Manfred with modifications by Guy Frenkel. 

Shaping Pretzels:

Dipping Pretzels in Lye:

The formulas will be available to the general public for two weeks and then available only to members after that time. 

Pretzel Formula from Manfred Enoksson:

Printable Recipe



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Make a Poolish.

  • 400 water.
  • 400 wheat
  • 10 gram commercial yeast.

Mix and ferment for 24 hour in the fridge.

Add:

  • 100 g sourdough @100% hydration
  • 550 g bread flour +/-
  • 100 g warm water.
  • 20 g salt.
  • 40 g sugar.
  • 60 g butter.
  1. Mix ingredients in the mixer for 5-8 minutes
  2. Bulk ferment for 3 hours (or until you see the dough starting to rise) 24-27/75-80FC
  3. Shape (90-100 grams dough or whatever suits your fancy) and then let the dough proof until you see about 30% rise.
  4. Refrigerate 3- 16 hours (cover with plastic).
  5. Dip in lye (or try using soda water) (Use all precautions with the lye, gloves and eye protection)(lye mixture is 35-40 grams of lye per 1 kilo of water)
  6. Sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt and bake at 230C/450F until dark brown (13-15 minutes).

Manfred’s formula (with modifications by Guy Frenkel):

Printable Recipe

    •  600 grams pasta madre (same as Lievito Madre which is at 50% hydration).
    • 50 g liquid starter (at 100% hydration).
    • 600 g AP or bread flour (I used half fresh milled).
    • 300 g water
    • 20 g salt
    • 40 g sugar
  • 50 g  butter
I also milled a tiny bit of home made malt with the grains (optional)
  1. One hour bulk ferment.
  2. 3 – 6 hours cold ferment
  3. 3 second dip in lye (or try using baking soda water) (Use all precautions with the lye, gloves and eye protection)(lye mixture is 35-40 grams of lye per 1 kilo of water)
  4. sprinkle with pretzel salt
  5. Bake at 230C/450F for 13-15 minutes or until dark brown


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Use extreme caution when working with lye – always add the lye to the water, not the other way around. Use gloves and eye protection. Stand back and look away when you are stirring the lye (avoid lye fumes)(or try using baking soda water, it’s safer).

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Teresa L Greenway

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