Happy National Soft Pretzel Day! Did you even know this was a day?? It’s a bit odd, right? In any case, this “holiday” gave me the perfect excuse to finally make them. 🙂
So this is one of those things I made once when I was a teenager. I think there was a recipe in this Martha Stewart cookbook my Mom owned, but never used. (Ha!) At one point, I told Chuck I had made them and that they were really good. Since then, he would randomly ask me when I was going to make them again. Well this past weekend, I did.
They were so good.
I looked at a couple recipes and settled on this one from Alton Brown for three reasons: 1) Alton Brown knows his stuff (check out his blueberry yogurt muffin recipe here), 2) Excellent reviews – 5/5 stars – and, 3) Super easy directions. Seriously, they were just that: super easy. The only thing I’ll forewarn is it did require a lot of patience. It was almost 2hrs from start to finish, though an hour of that was inactive and just letting the dough rise.
I only had two modifications to the original recipe: I didn’t use kosher salt or pretzel salt. Why? Because I didn’t have either. Also, pretzel salt is ridiculously expensive on Amazon. I ended up using sea salt set to the finest ground setting for kosher salt and the largest coarse ground setting for pretzel salt in our grinder. (We own this set and love them.)
The next time I make this, I think I’ll try making them into smaller pretzel bites. Then freeze and pull them out as needed. (Okay, so no one really needs a soft pretzel, but you know what I mean.) Anyways, these were so much fun to make and definitely worth a try. Alton hasn’t failed me yet.
- 1.5c warm (110-115º F) water
- 1tbsp sugar
- 2tsp salt (ideally kosher)
- 1pkg active dry yeast
- 22oz all purpose flour (approx. 4.5c)
- 2oz unsalted butter, melted (approx 3tbsp)
- Vegetable Oil
- 10c water
- 2/3c baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk with 1tbsp water
- pretzel salt OR sea salt set to your largest coarse ground setting
- Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam
- Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined*
- Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl (approx. 4 to 5 minutes)
- Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (approx. 50-60min)
- Have a latte or whatever your drink of choice and relax 😉
- Pre heat over to 450ºF
- Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil and set aside
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan
- Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces
- Roll out each piece of dough 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 onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel
- Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan
- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds
- Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula and return to the half sheet pan
- Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt OR coarse ground salt
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes
*Helpful Hint: Cover the stand mixer with a clean kitchen towel prior to turning the mixer on. The towel will help contain the flour while it’s being incorporated with the wet ingredients.