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Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzels

I have been craving soft pretzels for quite a while so my husband and I baked homemade soft pretzels last Saturday. They were so delicious---just a hint of sweetness and butter, the outer crust was just slightly firm and the insides were not too doughy and remained very soft. I personally think they are better than what you buy at the mall especially when the homemade ones just came out of the oven. And even now (two days later), they are still yummy and soft.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water (lukewarm)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (optional)

Directions:

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

Add the flour and butter and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (16 for smaller, personalized pretzels). Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope (12-inch for smaller pretzels). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press firmly onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.

Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt if desired.

Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

covered in Cinnamon Sugar
photo by Hubby

We already have so many ideas on how to vary the "flavor"---(different types of) cheese pretzel, chocolate chip pretzel, garlic pretzel, etc!