I had an amazing time at Cafe Schoenleben, with Martin Schoenleben, master pastry chef, from my home town Puchheim, Germany. Puchheim is just west of Munich and he owns the last real bakery in that town. All the other bakeries there are chains and bake previously frozen Pretzels and bread rolls.
Not so with Martin! He is the sweetest man and he loves to share his knowledge with people.
Check out his blog here: (it is in German, but it's worth a look)
Here we are in front of Cafe Schoenleben:
I contacted Herrn Schoenleben before I left the US to travel to my hometown and he was all for meeting with me. I dropped by briefly to schedule a time with him (and to buy some baked goods, of course) and we quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to learn how to properly make bavarian Pretzels, or Brezen as we call them.
After a quick trip to Berlin I met him at his bakery where he had the dough already prepared and an apron and hat for me at the ready.
He got to work and taught me how to properly "throw" a Pretzel.
First he cut and weighed the dough into four pieces. (it was a lot of dough)
Cafe Schoenleben makes 300-400 Pretzels a day!
Then he flattened each dough ball and pressed them in this machine that cuts the dough into even pieces.
Each of those smaller pieces now goes through another machine to roll into these "sausages"
And then we get to work by hand.
Each of the smaller "sausages" get rolled into longer strands, approximately 60cm or 23 inches.
then each strand is thrown, by a left hand motion to shape the Pretzels. I will show in my upcoming video on how to do that.
This is what they are suppose to look like!
After letting them sit for a few minutes, we dipped them into Pretzel solution, sprinkled them with salt and baked them.
The solution we dipped them in is part Lye and part water, so it is quite dangerous and requires you to wear and apron, gloves and safety glasses.
At home we would use baking soda and water, which also does the trick. :)
And here are what they looked like when they were fully baked!
Beautiful and delicious! Freshly baked Brezen!
They were so pretty I even made my kids pose with them!
Thank you Martin! For taking the time and teaching me your wonderful craft! I will cherish it forever!
Until next time!
My name is Pascal Simon, owner of Bake Austin and author of Bake Austin Kids baking book.