Back when I lived in Germany, I used to order laugenstange mit debrecziner (pronounced laug-en-schtanga mit deb-ro-cheen-ah) all of the time for €2 from Ditsch. And when I say all the time, I mean all. of. the. time. What’s not to love? A smokey sausage in a soft pretzel stick topped with cheese. YUM.
I really wanted to make a version of this at home because it is just so damn good and I also miss traveling since Covid really threw a wrench in that. I look back fondly on my time in Berlin, so I thought what better way to take me back than making this delicious snack. If you like smokey sausages and pigs in a blanket, you are guaranteed to love this take on laugenstange mit debrecziner.
What Sausages to Use for Laugenstange Mit Debrecziner
The traditional German version of this snack uses debrecziner sausages, which are pork sausages from Hungary that are heavily spiced with smoked paprika, garlic and marjoram. Despite my best attempts, I simply could not find any way to get debrecziner sausages here in D.C. I knew I would need to find an alternative, so I aimed for a pork sausage that at the bare minimum had smoked paprika.
I did find one! I purchased Wellshire all natural smoked andouille sausages. Looking at the ingredient list I saw pork, spices, paprika and garlic and knew this was likely going to be my best bet. It did not disappoint!
Honestly, this sausage is so close to the real thing. I tried adding smoked paprika and marjoram to the recipe to see if that got it closer to the taste, but I honestly don’t think it added anything. The sausages are perfect just as they are. If you can’t find the Wellshire ones, I would aim to find a pork sausage with smoked paprika, as those are the two most important elements.
What Cheese to Use for Laugenstange Mit Debrecziner
Choosing the right type of cheese is critical to the final taste. In Germany, you’ll find this made with Emmental, which is a cheese from Switzerland, near Bern. Emmental is super affordable in Germany and, as you may have guessed, is distinctly not at Whole Foods. I’m sure it would be more affordable if you purchased it from Costco, Trader Joe’s or Sam’s Club.
Can I Just Use Swiss Cheese?
Emmental is a Swiss cheese, but not all Swiss cheese is similar to Emmental. Most American Swiss cheeses are nuttier in flavor, whereas Emmental has a slight buttery taste. If you can’t find Emmental or don’t want to fork over your firstborn, you can use regular Swiss cheese. But for a closer taste, I would opt for Grueyere.
Gruyere is bolder in flavor, and a bit fattier, but is closer to Emmental than American Swiss.
How to Form the Pretzel Sticks
This is much easier than you may think! Cut your dough into four equal parts and then roll each one into a thin, oblong shape, around 1/8 inch – 1/4 inch thick and then roll it lengthwise.
Repeat the process with all four parts of the dough.
How to Make Laugenstange Mit Debrecziner
You’ll get the full recipe below, but this is the gist.
1) Mixing the Dough
This first step can be a bit tricky with the yeast. Make sure your water temperature is a minimum of 100 degrees. If the yeast doesn’t foam after 10 minutes, you will likely need to start again. Every time I make pretzels, my dough is always a little bit different depending on the current temperature and humidity. See the recipe notes for tips.
Your dough should look like the following picture before you hand knead it.
After hand kneading, your dough should be totally smooth and tacky, but not sticky.
2) Proving the Dough
Once your dough is well-combined and smooth it will prove for a minimum of 30 minutes. When it has doubled in size, the fun begins!
3) Portioning and Forming the Dough
This is the most daunting, but it is actually incredibly easy! (Tips above.)
4) The Baking Soda Bath
After you form the stick shapes, cover them with a kitchen towel and move on to boiling your water for the baking soda bath. I haven’t found a ratio of water to baking soda better than Sally’s from her homemade pretzel recipe.
Score your dough, cut your sausages, place them in the scored sections and then top with cheese. Bake these beauts and enjoy!
After they come out of the oven, you’ll have a delicious, German snack!
Did you make this recipe? Post it on Instagram and tag me!
Recreating Laugenstange mit Debrecziner
- 1 cup water possibly 1 teaspoon later
- 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
- 7 grams yeast, one standard packet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup Emmental cheese, shredded or grated
- 2 sausages of your choice
Baking Soda Bath
- 9 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- In a standing mixer bowl, whisk together the water (at a temperature between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit), yeast and sugar. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit until foamy, around 5-10 minutes.*
- Add the dough hook onto your mixer, and then add the melted butter, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Beat the dough at a low speed (speed 1 or 2) for about one minute, until the dough starts to come together. At this point, it should be very wet. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to.
- Add 1/4 cup more of the flour to the dough and continue mixing at a low speed for 1-2 minutes. Your dough may look like it's a bit too dry, but let it keep mixing and it should come together. If your dough is still very wet and sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of the flour and beat at a low speed until it comes together. If your dough is a bit dry, add 1 teaspoon of warm water and continue beat at a low speed until it has fully come together. The temperature and humidity of your home will greatly affect how much flour you end up needing.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and hand knead it for 2-3 minutes until totally smooth. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel to proof for 30-40 minutes, until it's doubled in size.
- While the dough is proving, I like to use this time to grate my cheese if I didn't buy pre-shredded.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and cut it into four equal parts. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a thin, oblong shape, around 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. Then roll the dough lengthwise like a hot dog to form the stick shape. Once all four pretzel sticks have been formed, throw a kitchen towel over them for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the baking soda bath.
- Boil your 9 cups of water and then add the 1/2 cup of baking soda and keep the water at a boil. Gently take the pretzel sticks and lower them into the water and let sit for 25-40 seconds. Then remove using two spatulas, spoons with holes or spiders. Then place onto your baking tray.**
- Score each pretzel stick twice with a sharp knife. Take your two sausages and cut them in half, then take each half and cut it lengthwise. Place each quarter of the sausage into the scored sections of the pretzel and then top with the 1 cup of shredded or grated cheese.
- Bake for 18-21 minutes, until cheese is melted and pretzel is browned.