Also Known As: Laugensemmel
The Laugenbrötchen is a wheat roll, characterized by a dark brown crust. Before baking, the formed roll is dunked briefly in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water. In German this mixture is called Natronlauge. This is what gives the rolls its unique color and flavor. It is also often topped with coarse salt.
Bread Category: Rolls and Other Mini Breads
Region: Mainly in Southern Germany
White (wheat) flour, malt, salt, yeast, and water.
Dark brown, crispy, salty crust, and inside a soft, chewy dough.
The invention of the Laugenbrötchen goes back to the Laugenbrezel (Pretzel).
According to the Bavarian tale, on the morning of February 11, 1839, Anton Nepomuk Pfanenbrenner, the baker for the Munich Royal Café, was preparing some sweet pretzels for his guests. He wanted to brush the pretzels with sugar-water, but accidentally used Natronlauge, the sodium hydroxide solution being used to clean and disinfect the bakery countertops. The baker decided to bake the pretzels anyway. The pretzels came out of the oven with a unique brown crust, soft center, and delicious taste.
This technique was later used for other bread shapes, including the rolls.