Sunday, 9 October 2011


Proper Laugenbrezel are difficult to find in this country. They are different from other Pretzel, having been dipped in a Lye solution.  Here is the recipe, it makes 15 large Brezel (you may wish to halve the quantities):

600g strong bread flour
12g salt
20g malt or molasses (I prefer molasses)
60g butter
60g yeast
0.25l water

Mix the ingredients and knead the dough well. It must be sufficiently elastic to make a nice fluffy bread.

Cut the dough into 15 even pieces, roll into a 30cm cord which is slightly thicker in the middle and form into Laugenbrezel shapes. Use a drop of water to glue the edges down.
Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Boil 1l of water with two or three spoons of sodium bicarbonate to make the alkaline lye water.  Dip the bread for 30s into the solution, drip off and sprinkle with rock salt. Place them onto a floured baking tray. Put them into a cold oven, and heat to 250 deg C for 20 minutes. (I prefer a hot oven at 180 deg C however). The Brezel should be golden brown when finished.

The perfect Brezel will have a nice rubbery outside with a soft and fluffy interior.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

月饼 - Moon cakes

中秋节 - Mid Autumn Festival

Moon cakes are traditionally cooked for the mid-autumn festival, where the moon is venerated.  For my first recipe, I decided to be adventurous and give the following recipe a try, which I adapted from an american moon cake recipe I found on the internet:


250 g red aduki beans
80g lard
100 g sugar (granulated)

I soaked the beans for around 6 hours, then simmered them on a low heat for approx 2 hours.  I left them to cool overnight. The difficult part is shelling them.  I strained them and mashed them with a potato masher and then pressed them in a garlic press, which made a reasonably smooth paste.  I then mixed this with the melted lard and sugar, and cooked off the remaining fluid until a firm paste remained.


Shortening dough:
260 g flour
160 g lard
10 tbsp water
1/4 tbsp salt

Flaky dough:
130 g flour
50 g lard

Cakes before going in the oven

The finished product.

Roll out the shortening dough, reserving a small amount for the characters to decorate the tops, and roll the flaky dough on top of this.  Fold the dough into thirds, roll it out again, and repeat.  I then used a ramekin to form the cake, although traditionally wooden presses are made for this purpose.  I glazed the cakes with egg yolk, decorated with the characters for mid autumn festival and pumpkin seeds.