Raisin Laugen Broetchen (Raisin Pretzel Buns) for Velveteers

Pretzel Buns

It has been a while since the last Velveteers post on this blog. The Holiday Season just took over our lives and then some of us have moved over and started new lives leaving us to take a short break on the Club cooking.

I am yet to make Aparna's decadent Christmas suggestion, the Goan Bebinka. Sorry girl, but I promise, I will celebrate Christmas this Summer just for that! But, this month, we bring you another delicious baked item that is rather popular in NYC.. Pretzels!!

Al, true to his German roots (yes, Pretzels are originally quite German), suggested we bake these fabulous snack items for our first challenge in 2011 and I was quite happy to oblige.

Pretzel for tea

Mmmm.. truth be told, I do not quite like the NYC pretzel at all. It's a bit too dense for my liking. I did, however, fall madly in love with a very different pretzel, this one in a loaf form. Chef Thomas Ciszak makes fresh bread everyday at his restaurant, Copeland which serves incredibly good fare with a French twist.

As part of the welcome bread basket one night, I tasted the most delicious pretzel bread that was indulgently buttered up and served oh-soo freshly warm. One bite and I was in heaven. Bread, made well, is indeed the nectar of life, do not you agree? :)

So, anyway, in pleasant remembrance of that bread, I set about preparing my own version of it.

Pretzel buns with Bulghur Wheat Salad with Pepper Eggplant

Btw, do you know how the bread gets it's distinctive flavor? It from boiling the buns in baking soda water. When the soda reacts with the water, it aerates the yeasted dough into puffiness and imparts the flavor as well.

It was cool to see chemistry in action! So fun. Ok I am a geek, I know ! :D Anyway, if you are interested in more info about the pretzel, Wiki is a great source.

I made both knot shaped pretzels and buns. The knots were great with butter and honey and a spot of hot tea. The buns were a perfect side with my lunch of bulgur salad with peppered eggplant.

Raisin Laugen Broetchen (Raisin Pretzel Buns)
(adapted from various sources)
Pretzel Buns
Prep Time:1 hr 20 min
Cook Time:20 min
Cook Time:2 hr min
Yield: 8 rolls

1 cupwarm water, at about 110 F
2.5 cupflour
1 packageactive dry yeast
2 Traisins
2 Tbutter , melted
1 cupwarm water, about 110 F
2 tspsugar
1 tspsalt
1/3 cupbaking soda
1 potboiling water
sea salt (for garnish)


Place yeast, 1/4 cup of flour and sugar in a large bowl and pour 1/2 cup of warm water. Set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy. Add the remaining flour, salt, butter and water and knead into a soft, tacky dough, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins and knead for another few minutes until the fruits are fully incorporated into the smooth dough.

Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in a warm, draught free place, about an hour. When the dough has doubled, gently degas the dough and knead. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Divide the dough into 8 even sized balls and let them rise until the water is ready. Add baking soda to the water. Drop the balls gently into the water, making sure not to crowd the pot (else they don't poof up evenly).

Let the dough balls sit for 30 seconds, then turn them over and remove after about another 30 seconds. You will know when they are ready. They become aerated and will look ready. Drain and remove to a baking sheet. Rest them for a couple of minutes and score a cross on top (using scissors). Brush the buns with butter just before sliding the sheet into the oven.

Bake for about 15 minutes until dark brown on top.