Here it is, folks! My first food post! To be honest with you, I’ve been nervous about it all weekend. I was nervous about the yeast not blooming properly or that the pretzels would fall apart when being boiled. I was ESPECIALLY nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find good light or take acceptable photos and I’d have to do this all over again. But guess what? IT ALL WORKED OUT.
As you may recall, I talked about wanting to learn how to bake bread HERE. Though soft pretzels weren’t exactly what I had I mind when I made this goal, I think they should definitely count (at least partially.)
I wanted to learn to make homemade pretzels for a really
ridiculous awesome party we’re throwing in a few weeks (more on that later.) These pretzels came out of the oven smelling fabulous, with a slight chew in the middle that ALL soft pretzels should have. JB even said that “Auntie Anne’s” should be called “Auntie Amanda’s” instead. I think that is what we call The Husband Seal of Approval.
The best advice I can give you when it comes to making your own pretzels is to be patient! Make sure your dough is in a warm place, and let it rise for a full hour. Also cut yourself some slack if your pretzels aren't photo-worthy at first. You can always roll the dough together again and reshape them!
Soft Pretzels Makes 10 Recipe adapted from Alton Brown
Ingredients: • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water • 1 tablespoon sugar • 2 teaspoons kosher salt • 1 package active dry yeast, approximately 2 ¼ teaspoons • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups • 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted & divided • Vegetable oil, for bowl and rolling surface • 10 cups water • 1/3 cup baking soda • Coarse salt or pretzel salt
Combine the yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour the warm water over the mixture and whisk for 10 seconds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble and foam.
Add the flour and 2 ounces of cooled, melted butter to the yeast mixture. Mix using a dough hook on low speed until just combined. Change mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4-5 minutes. Remove the dough and place in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen for an hour, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring the 10 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add baking soda and stir.
Place the dough onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 10 equal-ish pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope, and make a U-shape with the dough. Hold the ends of the rope, and cross them over each other, making an “x” shape. The ends of the rope should be touching the bottom of the U. Pick the ends, twist the “x” once, and press the ends of the rope into the base of the U. Place formed pretzels onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, and cover with a damp paper towel.
One by one, gently slide the pretzels off of a flat spatula into the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds, and remove from water. Place the boiled pretzel on a drying rack over a kitchen towel to allow any excess water to drip off. Return boiled pretzels to baking sheets, generously brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake until dark golden brown, 15 minutes or so. Allow to slightly cool before inhaling.
We dipped ours in classic French’s mustard, but they are also fabulous with honey dijon or cheese sauce.
For a sweet variation, skip sprinkling your pretzels with salt before baking. Once they are finished baking, brush generously again with melted butter, and dip into cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!