Soft Pretzels – recipe and results

12 Aug

So I saw this recipe yesterday on Joy the Baker’s blog.  It sounded so good that I just had to try it.  I am a bit of a carb addict, and right now they’re really the only part of the food pyramid that really appeals to me.  I know, that’s bad.  But so true.

So, to get my fix, I headed to the store to find the last couple ingredients that I needed.  Here’s the recipe as it was – I’ll put my notes and changes in another color so you have the original and what I learned through the process.

This could be a really fun thing to do with kids I think.  Let them roll the snakes of dough and sprinkle the salt… or whatever they are capable of.  It was definitely fun!  And YUMMY!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pretzel salt or grill seasoning
1 heaping Tablespoon baking soda (add it to the boiling water just before throwing in the pretzel dough!)

Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).

Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. I found that I needed to flour the work surface for this too.
Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. I just rolled it in the air between my hands – I found it a bit easier.  Definitely flour your hands.
If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Preheat oven to 425  I found the temp and cooking time might need to come down – I’d try 400 degrees next time.
Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.
Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes.

Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.
Once boiling, add heaping tablespoon of baking soda.  The baking soda will help the pretzels brown.  It will also kind of foam up quickly, so just watch out for your arms and hands.  You might get splashed with hot water… like me. Ouch.
Using both hands, carefully add 2 (maybe 3)  pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes.
Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet.
Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt.

Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Keep an eye on this – I only baked for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees, I think at 400 degrees, you might be able to go the full 35 minutes
Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Also, I had trouble finding specifically “pretzel salt” – so I ended up using coarse Kosher salt.  It was pretty close – not exactly like the giant pieces of white salt you get on store pretzels, but close.  Definitely a better choice than regular table salt.

One Response to “Soft Pretzels – recipe and results”

  1. Anna August 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Thanks Rebecca!!
    I know my little baker would have a blast making these. We’ll have to try them soon.

    All I ate through my entire first pregnancy was the freezer soft pretzels so I totally understand your carb cravings! Looking forward to hearing about the arrival of your little one.

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