Soft Pretzels at Home - Skip the Trip to the Food Court
I love soft pretzels. The big doughy treats warm fresh out of the oven. Give me mine heavy on the salt and a side of spicy mustard and cheese to dip it in. Yes. Both. I am a glutton, what can I say. I love walking through the mall and strolling past the food court and getting a whiff of the freshly baked pretzels at Auntie Anne's or one of the other chains. We were out to dinner the other night and my wife ordered soft pretzel sticks with beer cheese dipping sauce. It was delicious. As I sat there and ate most of her appetizer, I thought, 'I can do this.' A thought that sometimes has mixed outcomes for me.
The first thing I had to do was learn how to cook, and fast! Just kidding. I know my way around a kitchen. I needed a recipe to start with. I scrounged the internet and found a smattering of recipes for soft pretzels. I took what I liked from some and left out the stuff I thought didn't belong. Here is what I came up with:
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 TBS Brown Sugar
- 1 pkg Dry Active Yeast
- 4 1/2 cups White (All Purpose) Flour
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 Quarts water
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 2 tsp salt
- Pretzel salt
- Cooking spray or vegetable oil for the pan
- Pour the 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and tsp of salt. Sprinkle the packet of dry yeast over the top. Allow to sit until bubbles start to form. Usually about 5 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the flour. If you are using a stand mixer do this with the dough hook. Knead the dough until smooth. Again, with a stand mixer, this is about 5 minutes. It will take longer by hand. Cover bowl and allow it to sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets wit parchment. Lightly coat with cooking spray
- Bring 2 qts of water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured prep surface. Divide the ball into 8 equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into long strands 18-24 inches. Cut each strand into 3 or four pieces if you are doing sticks, or form into shape of a pretzel.
- Dip each piece of dough into the boiling water solution for about 30 seconds. Retrieve from the water with a flat spatula and place on parchment.
- Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbs of water. Coat the pretzels with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt. or cinnamon and sugar.
- Place in the oven until deep brown. Approximately 13- 15 minutes depending on your stove. Let rest for 5 minutes before eating. They will be very hot.
Step by Step Photo Instructions
So, While we are waiting for the dough to rise, Let me tell you how much I love my stand mixer. Ok. It is my wife's stand mixer, But I love to use it. When she bought it 10 years ago for $299 I thought 'What in the living hell!? a $300 mixer?!' But let me tell you right now. It was worth every freaking penny! If you don't have one, and you do any kind of baking, get one. Guys, if you want to make her life easier and your life tastier, it makes a great birthday, Christmas or anniversary gift. I use mine...um my wife's for everything from meatloaf and meatballs to these pretzels and cookies.
Let's go check on that dough.
While I was making these pretzels today, I made half the batch into pretzels rolls. They are perfect for burgers and add a bit of texture to any sandwich. I sliced an "x" into the top of each roll before submerging them in the baking soda bath. This produced the sliced effect you see in the picture.
I hope you give this recipe a shot. If you do, please rate it above and comment here. I would love to hear some feedback from you if you tried it, if you did something differently, or if you have ideas to improve the process of making these delicious pretzels. Thanks for readint!