Saturday, April 18, 2020

At Home: Soft Pretzels

I finally found some active yeast from a local restaurant who was selling some of their pantry items to help their employee relief fund during this COVID-19 pandemic.  I looked for a couple baking recipes that called for yeast, and found Sally's easy homemade Soft Pretzels.  I followed her steps exactly and share my version here on What Micky Eats...At Home. I love that the baked and cooled pretzels also freeze well, up to 2 months, so I don't have to worry about eating them all in one sitting (though these are so good, it's hard not to!). Be sure to check out Sally's post for more step-by-step photos and a video.

Soft Pretzels (Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction) - Makes 12

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 1/4 teasp) 
  • 1 teasp salt
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB butter, melted
  • 3 ¾ cup all purpose flour + more for work surface
  • course sea salt for sprinkling
Baking Soda Bath:
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 9 cups water

- Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. 
- Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick.
- Add ¾ cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to ½ cup more, as needed.
- Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball.
- Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- While the dough rests, prepare the baking soda bath: Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 sections.

- Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope.

- Take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle.

- Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.*

- Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds.
- Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm with mustard or nacho cheese.

*Being huge baseball fans, I also attempted the "Curly W" shape that are sold at our hometown stadium. I think they came out pretty good.  Let's Go Nats!

Do you like soft pretzels?  These were pretty easy to make, and I may make a cinnamon-sugar or cheesy version next time to be a little more adventurous.

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