In southern Germany, Brezeln are a beloved type of bread.
Being half Swabian myself (and the great-grandson of Stuttgart’s best Brezel baker), of course I miss them, and I would love to be able to bake them myself.
I’ve sometimes baked some with Miriam (my sister), boiling them in a mixture of natron and water, and although the taste was OK, they didn’t get the proper dark-brown colour.
However, I’ve now found a recipe that looks like it might be just what I’ve been looking for.
It tells you to soak the unbaked Brezeln in a strong caustic soda solution, and it says you can either get this at a pharmacy or a baker’s shop. (“36 % Natronlauge bekommt man aus der Apotheke oder vom netten Bäcker, der einen etwas abfüllt.”)
However, when I googled caustic soda, all the shops that sell it in the UK (such as Boots) seem to be selling it as a drain cleaner, and I have my doubts it’s really food-grade caustic soda.
If I’m willing to buy 10 metric tonnes, I can get it, but I’m not sure I can eat that many Brezeln.