Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I was browsing for something to make to enjoy on our relaxing Sunday and found these. I've been wanted to make soft pretzels for years now, but was too skeptical of my abilities and didn't want to be let down. These are DIVINE!!! I might have to say that they are BETTER than anything you can buy at the mall!! And surprisingly they were super easy and turned out just as the recipe said they would. I love those kinds of recipes!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 T sugar
2 t Kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 cups flour (approximately)
1/2 cube butter, melted
vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T water
Pretzel salt

Combine water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid.) Sprinkle yeast on top and stir very slightly. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until combined. Change to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (this usually takes several minutes.) Remove dough from the bowl and in a new bowl, oil the sides with vegetable oil. Place dough in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly oil them and set aside.

Bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil.

In the meantime, turn the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and divide into 8 equal parts. Roll out each piece 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 them into the bottom of the U shape in order to make the shape of a pretzel.

Place pretzels into boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water with a large, flat spatula. Place on parchment paper and oil lined cookie sheet. Brush each top with egg yolk and water and then sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and sugar, or any other topping you like. Bake until dark, golden brown in color, about 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

*When I let any yeast dough rise, I usually turn my oven on to the lowest setting and wait until it gets to about 110 degrees and then shut it off. Then I put my dough in there, usually covered with plastic wrap, and it rises perfectly EVERY time. I don't know about you guys...but it took me a while to figure out how not to completely butcher yeast recipes!

*Adapted from The Food Network

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