Soft Pretzels

DSCN0134I’m not going to lie to you, I just ate this for breakfast and it was glorious. The rest of the pretzels are sitting in the kitchen tempting me to eat more.

These pretzels are billowy soft, buttery, with just a touch of salt. They really taste like the pretzels you get at the mall (in the good, indulgent sort of way). What’s great is that this recipe doesn’t take too long (as far as making bread goes), the technique isn’t too difficult, and you’ll already have practically all the ingredients you need in your kitchen.

So here’s the final recipe in my pretzel series. This recipe is easy to double, but as written here you’ll be able to make six 3-4″ soft pretzels. I’ve adapted this recipe from the one here on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp white sugar

5 oz water (5/8 cup of water) – should be warm at about 100°

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup baking soda

2 cups hot water

1 tbsp butter

kosher salt (for sprinkling)

Directions:

1. Make sure your 5oz of water is warm. I turned the faucet on high heat and then used a cooking thermometer to check the temperature. Microwave it hotter if you need to.

2. Dissolve the yeast and 1/2 tsp of sugar in the warm water. Let sit for 10  minutes. It will start to look kind of creamy and it will smell strongly of bread.

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3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and salt.

4. Create a hole in the middle of your flour mixture. Pour in the vegetable oil and the dissolved yeast. Mix until it forms into a dough. If the dough is too dry add a few tsps of water to help it mix together.

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5. Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes. You can do this by hand, but I recommend an electric mixer with a dough hook.

6. Lightly butter a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

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7. Preheat oven to 425°. In a shallow bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water. (I turned the faucet as hot as I could and used that to dissolve the baking soda) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with cooking spray.

8. When the dough risen, put it on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into  18″-24″ rope.

9. Take the two ends of your rope and bring them to the middle and cross them. (It will look like an upside-down awareness ribbon)

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10. Twist the ends one more time.

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11. Fold the twist over and press it onto the bottom circle part, so you get the traditional pretzel shape.

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12. Dip the pretzel into the baking soda water. Place on the baking sheet.

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13. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

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14. Melt the butter. Brush it on to of the baked pretzels. Sprinkle the salt to your liking.

15. Let cool enough so they’re easy to handle, but so they’re still warm to taste. EAT THEM.

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2 spoonMessy Level: When I’ve done this in the past I’ve made an epic mess with the pretzel prep and baking soda dip. What I did this time to alleviate the mess was set up an organized system. I had the floured work surface, then immediately to the right the baking soda water, then immediately to the right of that the baking pan, and then after that a kitchen towel. That way I wasn’t dripping baking soda everywhere and I had a place to wipe my hands as soon as I finished each pretzel. I’m going to give this a two spoon rating.

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