Soft pretzels

Here's a fun recipe to try at home while the kids are out of school. 

The Kitchen Paper
Why travel to the mall when you can make these soft pretzels at home?

Soft pretzels were one of the very first real yeasty “bread” recipes I ever made, and one of the first recipes on The Kitchen Paper.

I’d never made pretzels before, but I knew they were fairly simple. After browsing a few different recipes, and watching Joy the Baker’s excellent video, I jumped right in. Easy stuff — and relatively quick! In a couple of hours I was munching on chewy, salty, mustardy goodness — and was all the happier because of it.

I’m such a sucker for soft pretzels. This dough recipe can be loaded up with any topping – cinnamon sugar, icing, mustard, everything mix — whatever you want. Just make sure to brush with the egg, sprinkle liberally (including salt! always salt!), then bake to perfection.

Surprisingly, these pretzels don’t take very long at all. With a 45-minute rise, then a boil and a bake, you can have fresh soft pretzels in just over an hour!

Soft Pretzels

1-1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F.) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4-1/2 cups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
Pretzel toppings, including salt, smoked salt, cinnamon sugar, or anything you can dream of!

1. Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl and allow to proof for 5 minutes.

2. When the mixture is foamy, add the flour, salt, and melted butter all at once. Mix with a dough hook, or knead by hand, for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and firm to the touch. Dough should not be sticky.

3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Remove the risen dough from the bowl, and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch rope, shape into a pretzel, and then place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add baking soda, and then carefully boil each pretzel. They will puff up a bit, so make sure not to overcrowd your pot. I did two at a time, for about 60 seconds on each side.

7. When they are done boiling, remove the pretzels from the water gently and place them on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.

8. Lightly brush with the egg/milk mixture, and immediately top with your chosen seasonings. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until they’re browned and cracking open. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Related post on The Kitchen Paper: Apple pecan cinnamon rolls

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