Finally! Literally after years of begging, kid number two has finally convinced me to make soft pretzels. She’s never in her known life seen me make pretzels even though I have made them before. I was hesitant to make them again as I was pretty sure I would need a second pair of hands to complete the boiling and baking portion. Back in the day (my university days) I found the process really hectic and unfamiliar. Let me just say that I’ve come a long way…baby. I could probably do this recipe half awake and in no time at all…which is kind of a scary thing considering how delicious they are.
The recipe from Foodologie makes 16 pretzels and with my whole family home Sunday (and hungry because we skipped lunch again) they were gone within 10 minutes of the requisite photo session. I had kid number two assist with the photo taking during the dough shaping process. When she saw how easy they were to make she told me there was no excuse for me waiting so long…
I found the dough really springy. No matter how many times I tried to make a long thin snake by the time I had completed all the twists and turns required to make the pretzel shape the dough had shrunk back and the pretzel ended up looking like a knotted bun. I guess they still looked somewhat like pretzels and what really mattered is that they tasted great!
One thing I thought really odd was the addition of a 1/4 cup of baking soda into the boiling water. I knew it was important in making the outside of the pretzels shiny but I think the amount may have been too much. The salted pretzels tasted fine but the ones we topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar reacted with the baking soda so that eating them put an odd taste in our mouths. Next time I’ll experiment with less baking soda.
I’m a sucker for little Germans…by the way did you know that Dachshund is German for ‘little pain in the ass’? Neither did I but I have to concur. My badger hounds definitely know when to push my buttons and when to snuggle.
1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
Olive oil spray
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda (I found this amount excessive, will use less next time)
cinnamon, sugar, melted butter or any other topping you would like to put on the pretzels
Place warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. I don’t measure the temperature, I just turn the water on hot from the sink and that’s usually the right temperature. Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. If your yeast/water combo isn’t bubbly, throw it out. It’s no good!
In another bowl, whisk together bread flour, sugar and salt. Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Add flour to yeast mixture and turn your mixer on low. Mix for 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for half an hour.
Prep your baking sheets by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray. Once your dough has risen, punch down and knead by hand for another minute. Divide dough into 16 small balls. Take each ball and roll into a long string, then twist into pretzel shape.
Place prepared pretzels on baking sheet and cover. Allow to rise for 10 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425F and boil 6 cups of water. Once water has boiled, add baking soda. Add pretzels (depending on the size of your pot, you might be able to fit 4-5 pretzels at a time). Boil one minute per side. Then transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. If using butter, cinnamon, and sugar bake the pretzels then brush with butter and dip in sugar/cinnamon blend.
Once you’ve boiled them all. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dark brown.