Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Soft Pretzels

It's real guys.  It's really real.  I successfully used yeast!  Someone send me an award or a medal.  I should retire from baking because I've reached my personal best.  
My exploits with yeast in the past have been less than successful.  Mostly, I made a loaf of wheat bread that somehow resembled the texture of a very crumbly pound cake.  I don't even know how that's possible.  I somehow defied the laws of science.  So like any normal person, I decided yeast was impossible to work with, I avoided it at all costs, and didn't try another yeast recipe for two years.  I'm so normal.  
But when I saw this recipe, it just spoke to me.  It said "You will not regret this.  I taste really good with cheese."  And I've never known a pretzel to lie to me.  So I went for it!
And my goodness, it was the best decision I've made in a long time.  This recipe is simple, straight-forward and fun!  I genuinely enjoyed every moment in the kitchen and while these take a bit longer to pull together than, say, a quick-bread, the results are worth every minute.  Trust me.  Trust the yeast.  Trust the pretzel.  

Here's the recipe!  

1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 oz all purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 
vegetable oil, for the pan
2/3 cup baking soda
10 cups water (for boiling)
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water (for eggwash)
Toppings of your choice (sea salt, "everything," cinnamon and sugar, etc.) 

1.  Combine water, sugar and salt in a medium bowl (I used the bowl for the stand mixer) and sprinkle yeast on top.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam.  
2.  Using a dough hook (or just a wooden spoon) add the flour and butter and mix until well combined.  
3.  Turn to medium speed on mixer (or turn dough onto a floured surface) to knead dough, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl, clean bowl, and oil it well with vegetable oil.  Return dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to sit in a warm place approximately 50-55 minutes, until doubled in size.  
4.  When dough has risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line 2 sheets with parchment paper and lightly oil with vegetable oil.  Set aside.  Bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan or roasting pan.  
5.  Turn dough onto lightly oiled surface and divide dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 24 inch rope.  To form the pretzel shape, make a U shape, hold the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, and press into the bottom center of the U-shape.  For pictures on this, The Baker Chick has great instructions.  Place formed pretzels on parchment-lined baking sheets.  
6.  One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for about 30 seconds apiece.  Gently remove from the water using a wide spatula and place back onto baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and add toppings of your choice.  Continue this with each pretzel and then bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly before eating to your heart's content.  

**The Baker Chick recommends warming your oven to 200 degrees F while you prepare the dough, turn the oven off, then allow dough to rise in warmed oven.  I tried this and it worked like a charm!
**These are best eaten fresh so I'd recommend preparing them the day you intend to serve them.  If time is an issue, you can prepare the dough, allow to rise, then refrigerate the dough overnight before forming, boiling and baking the pretzels the next day.  


Recipe from Baker Chick


  1. I love this recipe, i shared it with my friends and they all loved it! Will definitely be making this again.

    1. I'm so glad you like it! I'm such a sucker for a soft pretzel.