Pretzels! Soft pretzels to be exact, or "pretzen" if you're the little boy I nanny for. He loves "pretzen" and he's always asking me if I have any in my purse. Along with cookies or chocolate, sprinkles or marshmallows. ha ha! I did not share these with him but I'm sure he would have loved them.
I got together with the lovely Ingrid of 3 B's- Baseball, Baking Books and Michelle of One Ordinary Day to make these pretzels. Michelle chose this soft pretzel recipe from Alton Brown and they were a winner! Mr. H took his first bite into his cinnamon sugar pretzel and said "to hell with Auntie Anne's". He loved them!
It was helpful to use 2 spatulas to remove them from the water.
They were soft and chewy, yeasty and just so good. They couldn't be simpler either. You whip up the dough in your stand mixer in about 5 minutes then you let it rest and rise for an hour. You shape them, boil them in a solution of water and baking soda for 30 seconds then bake them. In about an hour and a half you can have fresh out of the oven pretzels. Do it.
This is the salt box Mr. H got me for Christmas. I love it! He got it for me since I would keep a pinch bowl on the counter full of kosher salt. This is so much prettier and it keeps my salt clean :-)
I had no problems with these at all and the dough was so buttery soft and a breeze to work with. The recipe makes 8 pretzels so I made half salted with kosher salt and the others were brushed with melted butter and coated in cinnamon sugar. bliss. The only thing I would change next time is to only make half a batch at a time because the next day they were a little tough and a couple made their way to the trash :-( If you plan on eating all 8 in one day then by all means make them all at once.
Homemade Soft Pretzelsfrom Alton Brown
- 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 or kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper DO NOT USE WAX PAPER- it will smoke! 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. Don't worry, they will sink to the bottom then float back to the top. If they fall apart in the water, just quickly reshape them when you place them back on the parchment. 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.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Make and assemble the pretzels as directed above but don't brush them with the egg wash. Leave them plain. When they come out of the oven and are still hot, brush both sides with half a stick of melted butter (for 8 pretzels) and coat in cinnamon sugar.
Be sure to stop by and visit Michelle and Ingrid to see how their pretzels turned out! It was fun baking with you ladies!