Pretzels. They’re like a good bagel with more surface area. Which is like the best thing that could ever grace my oven with its presence. Pretzels and bagels are both things that I have wanted to make for years (both are boiled then baked).
A week ago I was home alone, looking around at recipes online. I decided to make some salted caramel sauce. The salted amber, buttery sauce was amazing, but I wasn’t satisfied with just apple slices getting covered caramel. I thought pretzel sticks would be delicious in caramel. Since we had no hard little pretzel sticks and I couldn’t get to the store, I decided to finally make pretzels.
Pretzel sticks and fresh pretzels are about as different as rice cakes and cupcakes are different. I didn’t really care. I don’t care. Because, they were so freaking good.
Most recipes I found online for basic soft pretzels were Alton Brown’s recipe or at least a variation of it. I used his recipe and made salted and cinnamon sugar ones. These aren’t very hard if you have worked with yeast dough before, my one recommendation would be to watch them very carefully once they start to brown. They brown very quickly and mine needed to be moved around as they baked somewhat unevenly. Also, my cinnamon and sugar had too much cinnamon and the cinnamon ended up burning a bit. They were still yummy, but I will have to figure out the right ratios of cinnamon and sugar next time.
Homemade Soft Pretzels from Food Network
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. 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.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
4. 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.
5. 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.
And that is how you make pretzels! Enjoy!