On any given day, the DLM Bakehouse feels akin to a science lab of sorts. Precise measurements of ingredients are underway, being scaled on the fly by our artisan bakers turned scientists, and Maillard reactions fire off as dough rises and crusts crisp to a chewy exterior in our massive European hearth ovens. But once we decided to infuse our Made Right Here philosophy with the bravado of Bavarian-style pretzels, the “lab” grew to achieve authenticity as safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a food-grade lye bath entered the equation.
If you are looking for the more American type of soft pretzel sold at ball games or concerts, this isn’t that pretzel. A true Bavarian pretzel is dipped in a lye bath and wears a tougher, more flavorful dark crust yet still has that soft (never sticky) interior indicative of a soft pretzel. “The entire process is dependent on the lye, and that’s no lie,” says Greg Tyzzer, DLM Bakehouse manager, as he loads a mixer with ice and measures ingredients. “The lye dipping happens right before we bake them.” Although the lye bath is essentially an alkaline solution (hence the gloves and safety goggles), it’s been a staple for making Bavarian pretzels for many generations giving the pretzels that distinguished flavor and more robust color. But thanks to the science of baking, the heavily diluted lye dip essentially undergoes a reaction when the pretzels are baked resulting in a soft pretzel that is safe to consume yet fascinating nonetheless.
Another distinguishable difference with our pretzels is that they contain no oils, such as soybean, that a lot of pretzels use. Rather, we prefer baking with a more flavorful European-style butter. “Soybean oil doesn’t have a flavor, but butter does,” quips Greg. As the dough reaches its end development stage, which Greg can tell just by watching, he kicks the mixer into high gear, giving the dough a boost of strength for the shaping that is to come.
TIME TO HIT THE BENCH
The mixer kicks off and Greg holds a piece of dough in the air, stretching it thin until its elasticity allows light to peek through with the thin dough still holding strong. It is ready. Using a large knife, the dough is divided into more manageable increments.
Next, it hits the bench to be rolled and hand-tied by Jeff Lofino and Kevin Blackford. The stretchy dough is rolled while rock & roll gently hums in the background. Jeff, a drummer, moves with precision and the quick turns of the wrist result in beautifully handtied pretzels.
Then, when morning comes and after the bread for the day has all been baked off and transported to each DLM Bakery, artisan baker Rahn Keucher gets to work on dipping and baking pretzels. “Since pretzels aren’t necessarily something eaten for breakfast, I wait until right before the last truck comes (late morning) to dip the pretzels in lye and bake them so they’ll be as fresh as possible when they arrive each day to the stores.”
Add a Flavorful Twist
What started as a quest to curate a list from DLM tastemakers of exceptional mustards to pair with our Bavarian-Style Pretzel quickly blossomed into a range of tart mustards, savory dips, and sweet touches. Enjoy the below suggestions and don't be afraid to find your own twist!
1. STONEWALL KITCHEN GHOST PEPPER QUESO
This promises the flavors of queso with a fiery kick! (Grocery)
2. DLM BEER CHEESE
A blend of mature Somerset Cheddar, ale, and spices result in a creamy spread with a piquant flavor. (DLM Cheese Shop)
Mouthwatering mustard combines with sauerkraut for an intense flavor. (Grocery)
4. DLM CINNAMON HONEY CHEESE SPREAD
Cinnamon swirls with DLM 100% Pure Honey for this sweet cheese spread. (DLM Cheese Shop)
Perfectly balanced with a bit of zing and touch of sweetness. (Grocery)
Make a sandwich! Layer on slices of Bavarian ham or Heavenly Ham® with a generous slather of this mustard on a Bavarian-Style Pretzel. (Grocery)
7. DLM PIMENTO CHEESE DIP
This Made Right Here bestselling dip is nothing short of amazing. (Deli)
8. DLM BUFFALO CHEESE SPREAD
Blue cheese notes shine through this tangy yet slightly hot cheese spread. (DLM Cheese Shop)
9. LÖWENSENF BAVARIAN STYLE MUSTARD
This German mustard is a natural mate to our Bavarian-Style Pretzels. (Grocery)
10. DLM HONEY ROASTED PEANUT BUTTER
Freshly ground in-house, we love how the natural sweetness shines through. (Produce)