Ever since our first trip to Germany in 2006 my wife and I have fell in love with laugenbrezen. (first photo is a stock photo of real brezen) So when we came home we attempted many batches of of homemade pretzels but were convinced that lye could be substituted for baking soda (cheap, easily accessible and less dangerous). Ever batch was pretty good, but none of them had the shiny crispy outside and the soft chewy inside of a real brezel, until now.
I had some lye (sodium hydroxide or caustic soda as we brewers call it) left over from our soap-making project and thought I’d give the real stuff a try. I also wanted to make pretzels without having to roll and roll and roll and roll the dough. My hands actually start to feel arthritic after one batch. So I decided to just make quick and dirty balls then slice an “X” in them before baking. Fantastic idea Adam! Best batch yet. This photo was the first batch, the 2nd batch I learned another trick that got them even darker brown without burning the bottoms.
I also wanted to say that I think I have invented something new, or at least have come up with the concept entirely independently if this already exists. Pretzel-crust Pizza! We made a buffalo-chicken style pizza the other night but used my dough and lye on the crust. This was a real treat because when you are done eating an awesome pizza you get to eat a fat and chewy brezel-stick for dessert. Best of both worlds.
Just need a Helles in my hand and…