Where marketing merges with tradition...

Mauricette is an obsolete French female first name, for instance, for the fans, in this famous Alain Bashung’s song: Gaby, je t'ai déjà dit que t'es bien plus belle que Mauricette, i.e. “Gaby, I already told you that you are much more beautiful than Mauricette”. Personally, I think that Mauricette is very beautiful. Indeed, Mauricette is also the name of this little bread, a specialty from Alsace. Being from Lorraine, I have heard of those little delicacies without having had the chance to taste them, and furthermore to bake them. In fact, although it has now become part of the Alsatian tradition, this is a recent addition to it. And it had more to do with a marketing creation than a centennial habit. It was invented in the early 70’s by a baker from… the Lyon area! But it was rapidly adopted by the Alsatian consumers so that it is now considered as part of their legacy. Ah! The power of marketing!!! The genius of this creation is that it combines in one product the French pain au lait and the German Brezel, i.e, the Alsace's dual culture. Then, when the product is good... And this little bread is damn good. For the record, its original name, as given by the Lyon’s baker, is Moricette, but as it is a registered and protected trademark, it was popularized under the name Mauricette…

Technically speaking, as mentioned above, this is what is called in French a pain au lait, i.e. a bun made like a brioche (with flour, yeast, milk, butter) and treated like a pretzel (soaked in a baking soda mixture). By the way, it is sometimes called bretzel bagel (bretzel is the French and Alsatian spelling of “pretzel”, closer from the German Brezel). They are very easy to make (see recipe below).

For instance, you can "garnish" them with Prosciutto ham and sundried tomatoes, or with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, capers and pink peppercorns (see picture below), to make a delicious lunch or snack. It also makes a superb bun for lobster roll (see picture below). And of course, it could be savored as is, lukewarm, while they are crispy outside and soft inside. A real delicacy!

Levels of difficulty

10 minutes
60/90 minutes
15 minutes

Ingredients 8 servings

§  Flour (500 g)
§  Milk (15 cl)
§  Water (~15 cl, to adjust)
§  Yeast (10 g)
§  Salt (10 g)
§  Soft butter (35 g)
§  1 egg yolk
§  Optional: sesame seeds, coarse sea salt, cumin, pink pepper, pine nuts, onions…

§  Mix together the ingredients with the hook
§  Let rest and rise, covered by a towel or a film, for 60/90 minutes in a warm area
§  Hit the dough with your palm to remove air and split it in 8 pieces of around 100 g
§  First, shape those pieces like a ball, rolling them on your board with a tiny bit of flour, then shape the balls like spindles (or any other shapes)
§  Soak them directly (i.e. no further resting or rising) rapidly (~20/30 seconds) in a pretzel bath (i.e. 1 liter of warm water, 10 g of salt, 50 g of baking soda)
§  Brush them with the egg yolk to color
§  Score 3 or 4 slots with a blade
§  Spread on them some coarse salt, pink peppercorn, or any other topping you may fancy for
§  Bake 15 minutes in a 420 F preheated oven…
§  Savor, crispy outside and soft inside