Last week we took a look at what happened on this site in 2014. There was a lot of butter, a lot of breakfasting, and a little bit of floral-flavored magic. As I looked through the many recipes I have shared on this site, I realized that I have neglected to share one of my favorites. I have made this recipe more than any other, and yet, until now, it has been left unmentioned.
I am not even going to try to surmise the number of soft pretzels that I have made. It’s a lot. I think I have been invited to gatherings just because they want me to bring these pretzels. Whatever, I’m going to eat all your brie when I get there...
Soft pretzels are so often destroyed by frozen food companies who wish to deaden our palates with dry, flavorless shapes covered in salt. This makes me a bit upset, especially because soft pretzels are so incredibly delicious when executed properly.
This recipe is so simple and it comes together relatively quickly. The dough is pretty standard - flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and butter. It is really important that you measure the flour by weight if you possibly can. We have talked about this before... Lots of factors can affect flour and the only way to ensure that you have a precise measurement is by weighing the flour. Yada, yada, yada, you know, just grab your kitchen scale.
After the dough has risen, we shape our pretzels. I like my pretzels to be on the smaller side so I portion the dough into 10 pieces and roll them into 16-inch ropes. If you prefer for them to be larger and thinner, you could portion the dough into 8 pieces and roll those pieces into 24-inch ropes. It is entirely up to your personal pretzel preferences.
After the pretzels are shaped, they are dropped into the boiling baking soda hot tub for a quick dip. This will provide the chewy texture and distinct flavor we associate with soft pretzels. After their bath they are coated with egg wash and sprinkled with a heavy dose of course sea salt.
I like to serve my pretzels with honey mustard. *sigh* This is good...
Happy Wednesday friends!
recipe adapted from Alton Brown / makes about 10 pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, roughly 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- vegetable oil, for greasing
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)
- course-ground kosher salt or sea salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, and kosher salt. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add the flour and melted butter to the yeast mixture and fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until the flour and butter are well incorporated. Change the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This will take about 5 minutes.
Remove the dough gently and place in a large bowl greased with vegetable oil. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease lightly with vegetable oil.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine baking soda with 10 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil.
Turn the dough out unto a floured surface and portion into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 16-inch rope. Form the pretzels by making a U-shape with the rope, crossing the two ends over each other and pressing the ends onto the bottom of the U.
Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared sheet pans. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pretzels until they are deep golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for several minutes before partaking.
Serve warm with lots of sweet honey mustard. Enjoy!