Hungarian pretzels are the best, soft or crispy, they have a really pleasant salt wash on them. The salt wash is a mixture of flour, salt and water and it makes these pretzels particularly good.

The first record of pretzel goes back to the early 7th century. More than likely pretzel was the invention of Italian monks, and since then every European country laid its claim to it. The name pretzel probably comes from the Latin word bracellus, [bracelet]. Certainly, the various names pretzel has been called: perec, retzel, precel, pereca, preclík, bretzel, brezel, all seem to support this theory.

Pretzels can be topped with course salt, seeds and even with chocolate. Restraint is required with coarse salt, more is definitely not better. Germans do a lime bath, but I frown on lye baths. Why would a home cook put inedible ingredients into his/her cooking?

The secret to good pretzels is in the kneading. The dough must be very elastic, very!!! Minimum five minutes required with the dough hook on high speed or else a minimum of 10 minutes kneading by hand. This recipe makes 16 pretzels.

Pretzel Dough:
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1/4 cup butter
2-3/4 cups bread flour

Soda Bath:
2 cups water
2 Tbsp baking soda

Egg Wash:
1 egg, beaten

Salt Wash:
2 tsp salt
4 tsp flour
hot water

• Place the pretzel dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
• Combine to form dough.
• Knead by hand for 10 minutes or in a mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes.
• Remove dough and form into a ball.
• Place in a buttered bowl, turn it over, cover with plastic wrap and set it to rise.
• When the dough is doubled in volume, punch down.
• Do not flour the board. If the dough sticks, rub a little oil or butter on the board.
• Cut the dough into 16 portions and roll each peace into a 16 to 18 inch ropes.
• Braid into a pretzel and place on two parchment lined baking sheets.
• Let the pretzels rise for twenty minutes.
• Meanwhile, in a shallow pan, heat up 2 cups of water. It should be very hot, but not boiling.
• Remove pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda.
• One by one dip the pretzels into the hot solution.
• Place them back on the parchment lined baking sheet.
• Let the pretzels rise for twenty more minutes.
• Set the oven to 375F.
• Whisk an egg to combine the white with the yolk.
• Brush the pretzels with the egg wash.
• After twenty minutes rising, brush the pretzels with egg wash again.
• Place the pretzels in the preheated oven and bake to a light golden hue.
• Meanwhile prepare the salt wash:
• In a small bowl, combine the salt and the flour.
• Add hot water to make a paste that can be drizzled on the pretzels.
• Remove the baking pan from the oven and sprinkle the pretzels with the salt wash.
• Place back in the oven and bake for 4 more minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown.

Watch the video how to roll and dip pretzels

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!