My husband is a sucker for soft pretels. When we’re at the mall, he looks at Auntie Annie’s longingly, wishing for some of that warm, doughy goodness (and I almost always encourage him to just get one!). He doesn’t make many requests, but he has been requesting some homemade pretzels, so I decided to make some for him one afternoon. I’ve heard very good things about Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzels, so I went with that recipe.
It seems as if bread recipes often take a long time and can be very time consuming, but that was not the case with this recipe. The pretzels were ready in only a matter of a couple hours. The ingredient list was simple and came together quickly. The dough took just under an hour to double in size, just like the recipe said. This was a very easy dough to work with. It was nice and soft and I had an easy time handling it. My pretzel-shaping skills need a little work, but it will get better as I keep making these. The recipe calls for pretzel salt, but I used kosher salt instead and it didn’t seem to make a difference in the final product. David said that these were better that the mall pretzels. He is brutally honest when it comes to food, so I know he meant it! His favorite type of pretzel is cinnamon sugar, so I also made that version for him. These made a great snack one weekend night as we curled up on the couch to watch a movie. I will definitely be making these again!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces 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
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer 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, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. 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. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press 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. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Source: Alton Brown