Tag Archives: Germany

Pretzel Bagels from Trader Joes

Ever since Morning Star bakery stopped supplying everyone with somewhat authentic German Pretzels I have been on the lookout for a new source in Seattle. There has been a lot of disappointment in this search. Bakery Nouveau made some Pretzels, Costco added Pretzel rolls, Trader Joe’s added a single Pretzel Stick, but all of them were loaded with sugar and no good in my book.

Not everyone is up for making their own authentic German Pretzels – it’s a lot of work and takes specialized ingredients, but I think the effort is totally worth it every now and then :)

So, I was very surprised to find Trader Joe’s added another Pretzel product to their baked goods section. I was even more surprised that it didn’t contain a ton of sugar. And I was actually quite happy with the taste and texture. They are not like real Pretzels (lacking the crispy part) and more like Pretzel Rolls. I can ignore the bagel hole ;)

I did toast them and they were good with savory toppings like liver pate, or cheese, or just plain butter. Or another one of my TJ’s favorites, German Prosciutto (Schinken).

So, please buy these Pretzel Bagels, they are great:
Pretzel Bagel from Trader Joes

But don’t buy these:

German Cabbage Cake – Krautkuchen

Recipe from my mom, typical in the Swabia region around Stuttgart, Germany.

Dough – mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 45min.

  • 250 g – 1/2 lb flour
  • 120 g – 1/4 lb butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75 ml – 1/3 cup water

For the filling:

  • 1 kg – 2 lbs (white) cabbage, finely grated
  • 2 tsp oil OR 1/2 lb diced bacon
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 300 g – 0.6 lb sour creme
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Caraway, salt, pepper to taste
  • butter to grease the form

Saute cabbage with the flour in oil or the rendered bacon for 20min. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Mix sour creme with the eggs and the extra yolk with the still warm cabbage mixture. Add spices to taste.

Roll out the dough and put it into an 11″ spring form, forming a nice crust all around. Add the filling and bake for ca. 45min.

Baking Krautkuchen

Enjoy!

Real German Pretzels are called Brezel

This is the hard way of baking original German (Swabian) Bretzels. For the easy way, check out the Pretzel post at TheFreshLoaf. And by the way, I do think that going the extra mile of creating the Pâte fermentée and using real lye (Food grade Sodium Hydroxide – NaOH, which I bought from Amazon) is totally worth the effort. The second secret ingredient is the diastatic (baking) malt, which gave the dough the right chewy texture.

I got the recipe from a German site called Chili und Chiabatta. This is my English version, slightly simplified:

A day ahead, create the Pâte fermentée (fermented dough):

  • 144g White Flour
  • 94g Water
  • 2.8g Salt
  • 1 pinch of Dry Yeast

Kneed everything together, cover and let rise for 12-16h at about 70F.

Now create the real dough:

  • 578g White Flour
  • 340g Water
  • 12g Salt
  • 14g Fresh Yeast (I used 2.5 tsp Dry Yeasy)
  • 36g soft Butter
  • 7g Baking Malt (I used 1 tbsp Cane Sugar)
  • 240g Pâte fermentée (all the above)

Mix everything together, except the Pâte fermentée, for 3min in the FoodPro. Now add the Pâte fermentée in chunks and continue to kneed for 5min. Let rise for 1h (in a slightly greased bowl, covered with cling wrap at 21C), fold the dough and let rise for another hour.

Make about 15 portions (85g each) and roll them out to about 60cm long ‘worms’ with a thick middle section. Lay into the typical Bretzel shape.
Cover with cloth and let rise for 30-45min. Now cool in the fridge for 30min – the Bretzels are a lot easier to handle afterward.

Now the fun part – The lye:

  • 1250g cold Water
  • 50g NaOH

Warning: Wear protective goggles and gloves and only use glass or stainless steel – especially aluminum does not withstand this solution (check your baking pan)!
(Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 230C) Slowly stir the NaOH into the cold water until fully dissolved. Using a large skimmer dunk each Bretzel into the solution for 5s. Top with coarse salt and using a sharp knife, make an incision at the belly of the Bretzel.

Update: Because those Bretzels taste the best right after baking, I did try to freeze a couple of them at this point in the process and the result was encouraging – Give it a try, if you don’t think you will eat all of them right away :)

On a well greased baking pan (No Al!) bake the Bretzels for 14-16min at 230C.

More Pretzels

Bretzels taste best when still warm – try them with a Bavarian Cheese spread called Obatzda!