Soft Pretzels are one of those foods that remind me of Fairs and Gatherings, they also bring to mind cold often too salty and tough pretzels that you spend money on and then end up throwing out because you don't enjoy.
I knew I had to find a way of making my own and I tell you, I was a little apprehensive at first, usually I just throw myself into any recipe and hope for the best, but these were a little intimidating to me. The thing is, as with many other dishes I've made over the years, you make such a big deal about it and then realize that not only are they delicious when made at home, but they're super easy and fun to make. No special ingredients, no weird gadgets, nothing, just plain old home cooking at it's best.
Give these a try. By the way, the author of the blog where I got the recipe, Annie, let us know that you can make these 3 different ways, or rather, in 3 different methods and that she's tried them all and all were fantastic. Here is what Annie said:
First, I made them the usual way – shaping the dough, boiling, baking and serving all at once (pretzel A). I also tried freezing some that had been freshly boiled and baked (pretzel B). I thawed these in the microwave on defrost and then rewarmed in the oven. Finally, I tried freezing some of the shaped pretzels after shaping (pretzel C). I boiled these directly from the freezer, adding about 15 seconds to the boiling time, and baking for a minute or two longer than normal.
So without further ado, let's make some Soft Pretzels that will have your family and friends begging for seconds.
For the dough:
1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt
To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot.
In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope.
Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope…cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.