Soft Pretzels

When these little goodies come out of the oven, beware, you’ll want to eat them all. They’re just so good! James had the smart idea of making pretzel sandwiches for our lunch and I had the good idea of bringing them to work since as good as they are, I don’t want to eat them all! Plus, they apparently only last for a couple days. So get ’em while they’re hot! Even though it looks like a lot of steps, it’s a very simple recipe with very, very positive results.

soft pretzels
soft pretzels

Source: Smitten Kitchen
2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 T. + 2 T sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 T. salt
2 tsp. canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt (optional)

1. Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar into glass measuring cup or regular glass cup.Sprinkle with yeast, let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy. After 10 minutes, transfer water mixture to large bowl.
2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix with wooden spoon until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. At this point, you may just use your hands to lightly knead the dough until dough pulls away from sides of bowl (this could also be done with a standing mixing bowl if you have one).
3. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and knead for 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour; knead until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.
4. Pour oil into a large separate bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a lightly damp kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size. (NOTE: You can turn your oven to 150 then turn it off before putting the dough in to rise.) Remove bowl from oven. Punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured board.
5. Heat oven to 450. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray or cover baking sheets with parchment paper, ungreased. Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board.
6. Knead dough once or twice, divide into 16-18 pieces and cover in plastic.
7. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 14-16 inch-long strip. The pretzels are much easier to roll on an unfloured board, oddly enough, but see what works for you. Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel.
8. Continue to form pretzels and let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
10. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
11. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (depends on your oven — my pretzels were ready at 11 minutes).
12.Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

Voila! I wouldn’t mind trying these with raisins and cinnamon – yum

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