When we think of pretzels we usually think of bow-shaped rolls with a slightly salty taste, and which are usually covered in coarse salt, but there is also a lesser-known variant of pretzels that are sweet pretzels , which are consumed especially during months before Christmas .
And it is that these sweet pretzels or bretzels are usually consumed in very popular celebrations in Germany and other Central European countries prior to Advent and Christmas, such as the feast of Saint Martin (November 11) or the day of Saint Nicholas (December 6). In fact, in German these rolls are usually known as Martinsbrezel (St. Martin’s Pretzel) or Zuckerbrezel (Sugar Pretzel), although depending on the region it is also traditional to prepare them on St. Nicholas ‘ Day .
In Spain and other countries it is not typical to celebrate the festival of San Martín, although we have all heard on occasion the phrase “Every pig gets its San Martín” and it is that it was traditional to slaughter the pig around the festival of San Martín. Martín de Tours on November 11 and celebrate it by gathering with family and friends.
The most widespread legend tells that Saint Martin was a Roman legionnaire who, on a cold night, ran into a shivering beggar who asked him for alms. The soldier had no money but instead shared his cloak with him so that he would not be cold, cutting it with his sword and covering the beggar with it.
In countries such as Germany or the Netherlands , Saint Martin’s Day is often known as “the lantern festival” since children usually go out into the streets at dusk with paper lanterns and sing songs dedicated to the legend of Saint Martin to end up gathered around a bonfire sharing, as Saint Martin did with his cape, one of the traditional Martinsbrezel or little men of bread with raisins called Weckmann .
A beautiful legend that, although not traditional in our countries, can serve as an excuse to bake these delicious sweet pretzels with sugar and cinnamon together with the children and share them with our loved ones.
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How to make sweet pretzel or bretzel
Ingredients for 8 pretzels
For the mass
- 500 g harina
- 250ml milk
- 75g sugar
- 20g fresh yeast
- 1 egg
- 50g of butter
- 8g vanilla sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
To brush before horning
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- pearl sugar
To sprinkle once baked
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter
- 75g sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
How to Make Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Pretzels
Add the flour to a bowl and make a hole in the middle. In another bowl, put the warm milk (it should not exceed 40 degrees) and add a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast, mixing well until the yeast has dissolved in the milk. Next, pour the mixture of milk, sugar and yeast into the hole in the bowl with the flour and lightly cover the hole with the flour from the sides. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Next we add the rest of the ingredients for the dough to the bowl, that is, the egg, the rest of the sugar (70 grams), the tempered butter, the vanilla sugar and the salt, we knead everything well for a few minutes until we have a homogeneous mass. If we have a mixer or a kitchen robot, we will knead it for at least 5 minutes with the dough hook, and if we knead by hand we will need a little more time.
Once kneaded, cover again with a cloth and let it rise for at least another 20 minutes in a warm place protected from drafts. Ideally, it should be at a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, which you can achieve by briefly turning the oven on at about 50 degrees and turning it off, and putting the dough in the oven off. If you leave it at room temperature inside the house, as long as it is not too cold and there are many drafts, the dough will take longer to rise and double its volume.
Once leavened, degas the dough by pressing with your hands, and divide it into 8 equal parts. With each of the parts we form elongated buns and stretch each bun to form churros approximately 45 or 50 centimeters long, leaving the ends finer than the central part.
Now we are going to give it the characteristic pretzel shape. First we form a “U” with each churro, we take the ends, cross them over each other a couple of times and then fold them towards the central part of the “U” and press lightly to support them. We place the pretzels already formed on a tray covered with baking paper, leaving enough space between them so that they do not stick together since they will grow in size when baked. Once we have our 8 pretzels in the tray, we let them ferment again for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
When the 15 minutes have passed, brush them with the beaten yolk of an egg. To finish giving it that characteristic touch of these sweet pretzels, we have several options for the finish. Once we have brushed the pretzels with the egg we can simply add pearl sugar, which thanks to the egg will stick well to the dough and bake in a preheated oven at 180° with heat up and down for about 15 minutes.
If we want to give it an even sweeter touch, while the pretzels are in the oven we can prepare a mixture with 75 grams of sugar and 3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter and once we take the pretzels out of the oven and they are still hot, brush them with the butter and add the mixture of sugar and cinnamon to taste. If we don’t like the taste of cinnamon or want to do without it, we can mix the sugar with a little vanilla sugar and dip the pretzels in the mixture.
To accompany nothing better than a cocoa or a hot chocolate and we will have a very special snack for the cold winter evenings.