Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels aren’t exactly a new concept. After all, you see them at every mall, movie theater and theme park concession stand. But when was the last time you had a homemade, from scratch, soft pretzel?
The flavor of these chewy beauties will beat any street vendor or food truck like an old maid beats a dirty rug. These are just like the pretzels you get at the mall or the ball park, just better. Boiling the shaped pretzels before baking gives them a chewy interior, like a bagel. The baking soda in the water makes the baked pretzels shine. They’re surprisingly simple to make, and I bet that once you try the SteveFromScratch variety, you’ll never go back. This is comfort food at its best.

SteveFromScratch Soft Pretzels
1 1/3 cups + 2 T warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook mix 2 tablespoons of the warm water with the yeast and let sit until foamy.

20140206-212026.jpgAdd the remaining 1 1/3 cups of warm water and the sugar and stir lightly to dissolve the sugar.

20140206-212351.jpg Add the flour

20140206-212625.jpgand mix at medium-low speed until a firm dough forms.

20140206-212734.jpgTurn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Roll the dough into a 2 foot log.

20140206-212947.jpgDivide the dough into 20 pieces.

20140206-213136.jpgCover with plastic and a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

20140206-213248.jpg
Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch-long rope.

20140206-213400.jpgBecause the dough has a tendency to shrink back on itself, it helps to roll it out partway, let it rest for a few minutes, and then roll it the rest of the way.
Next, take either end of the rope in your finger tips and draw them together so the dough forms a loop.

20140206-213636.jpgTwist the ends of the rope together once or twice, depending on your preference.

20140206-213727.jpgThen bring the twisted end toward yourself and fold it down onto the bottom curve. Use a bit of water or milk to wet the ends and make them stick onto the dough.

20140206-213842.jpgLet the pretzels rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Add the baking soda. Carefully slide 4 of the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds, turning once.

20140206-214129.jpgUsing a slotted spoon, transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack to drain, right-side up. Sprinkle lightly with the Kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.

20140206-214257.jpg
Lightly oil 2 baking sheets. Arrange the pretzels on the baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift the pans if necessary, for even baking. Let the pretzels cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

20140206-214459.jpgServe warm or at room temperature,

20140206-214824.jpgwith mustard, or cheese, or bean dip, or salsa, or bbq sauce, or garlic oil, or wasabi dip, beer, buffalo style hot sauce, herbed butter, cinnamon and cream cheese. . . I could go on and on. . .
You can make ahead and keep pretzels frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat in a 350° oven before serving.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s