In case any one has been keeping track, you may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action for the last… six months or so. This summer/fall/beginning of winter has been full of fun and exciting changes for me, and unfortunately that means the blog has been a little overlooked. I’m ok with that though, because it means I was taking time to enjoy the whole experience of life.
One such change was a recent move to a new home. We’ve been here about 2 months now, and have finally gotten everything put away and semi-organized. I decided to put the kitchen through the ringer last weekend, and made some delicious soft pretzels. Every time I go to a stadium event, be it a sports or a concert, I always want to get a soft pretzel (and do about 75% of the time). There is also a local brewery that we love to go to that serves awesome pretzels with an incredible pimento cheese dip. I knew I just had to make them for myself, so I did!
It should be no surprise that I’m not afraid to toot my own horn; and I have to say these were the BEST soft pretzels I have ever had. They were slightly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and had the perfect amount of salt; not to mention they are extremely easy to make!
To start, you quickly mix yeast, salt, sugar and warm water in a stand mixer on low for 10 seconds until it’s combined.
Once the yeast mixture is combined, you’ll add flour and melted butter to the mixer. With the dough hook on the mixer, turn it on low, slowly increasing the speed to medium as the flour is incorporated into the yeast/water combination. Knead in the mixer for 4-5 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
The dough should be elastic and not too sticky. There is no extra kneading necessary, which is always a plus. After 5 minutes, remove the dough from the mixer and place in a slightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place. Let it rise for 50-60 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface that has been lightly greased. I have a convenient dough mat that I like to spritz with cooking spray. Form it into a circle, and cut into 8 equal parts.
Cover the pieces with a clean, damp dish towel; work with one piece at a time, and roll it into a 24 inch rope.
To form the pretzel make a U-shape with the rope of dough, twist the ends twice, and pull the ends down over the bottom of the U to create the classic pretzel shape. See below:
As you are forming the pretzels, bring 10 cups of water to a bowl in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add 2/3 cups baking soda to the water. Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds, then remove them from the water with a slotted spatula. The pretzels will puff up as they boil, and should retain their shape well. Drain the pretzel over the pot for several seconds, shaking off as much excess water as you can.
Brush each pretzel with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt. I do not own pretzel salt, but kosher salt is a good substitute for that. Bake until they are golden brown and beautiful.
I used some of the dough to make little pretzel bites, which are great for a party and easy to share. As with most baked goods, these are best fresh the day you make them; but if you have extras, I recommend warming them up in a 350F oven for 8-10 minutes before you enjoy them another day.
These pretzels were almost too pretty to eat, but alas they met their fate and were consumed with great joy! If you want to make something that looks this beautiful, but couldn’t be easier, give these a try; you won’t be sorry you did!
|8 large pretzels||30 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|12-14 minutes||55 minutes|
- 1 1/2 cups warm water 110-115 degrees F
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1 packet)
- 22 oz all purpose flour approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 oz unsalted butter melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- Pretzel salt, Kosher salt, or coarse sea salt
- Combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 10 seconds.
- Add the flour and 2 oz melted butter to the yeast mixture, and mix on low speed until well combined.
- Switch to medium speed, and knead dough for 4-5 minutes, until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl.
- Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for 50-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
- When the dough has almost doubled, preheat the oven to 425F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water to a boil in a large 8-quart stock pot. Add the baking soda. Form the pretzels while the water is coming to a boil.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface, form into a circle and divide into 8 equal parts. Place a damp towel over the pieces of dough to prevent them from drying out as you are forming the pretzels.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 24 inch rope, make a U-shape with the rope, twist the ends together twice, then bring the ends down to the bottom of the U to form a classic pretzel shape.
- Using a flat spatula, gently lower the pretzels into the boiling water, boil for 30 seconds (I prefer to boil them one at a time, but you can do more).
- Remove the pretzels from the water using the spatula, drain off the excess water, and place on the baking sheet.
- Brush the top of each pretzel with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the the tops are golden brown.
- Remove from oven, and enjoy warm.
**Cardinal Rule** To ensure the width of your dough rope is the same the entire length, start in the middle of the dough and roll back and forth, applying even pressure, moving your hands outward to the end as you go.