Soft Pretzels

Snow,
I’m a huge fan of yours.
Without you I couldn’t go skiing, or snowboarding.
Or sledding or make snowmen.
Look at all the alliterations I can make with “s”!
However (here’s the catch), I would prefer if you could refrain from violently storming and barricading my car with your 3 foot walls of solidified precipitation. I like to be able to get out of my parking spots.
Much appreciated.
Now let’s go make soft pretzels!
Come on, what stress case doesn’t want to drown their sorrows in dough! You don’t even need to be stressed to make these, just do it, they are delicious.
Soft pretzels
Pretzels
adapted from Joy the Baker (who adapted it from Alton Brown)

Ingredients

1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil
a pot of boiling water
a few tablespoons baking soda
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water (optional)
coarse salt for topping

First off, you have two choices when it comes to making the dough. A) You can be lazy and pull out your mixer. B) You can be a true baker and knead it by hand!
Either way you have to hydrate the yeast first so I guess you can decide while you are waiting. Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Give it a quick stir to dissolve if you choose. Then sit back and relax until it becomes nice and foamy. If you are lucky, you may even see mini yeast fireworks on the surface of the water (those of you who have seen this before know exactly what I am talking about…everyone else thinks that I am crazy…oh well).
Once this occurs you can add the flour, salt and oil (I used plain old canola). For those of you using your mixer, Joy says to beat on medium speed for 4 minutes (with the dough hook attachment, the whisk may not work too hot). You know it’s done when the dough forms a ball, pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to climb up the dough hook.
For those of you opting to knead by hand, kudos to you! It really isn’t difficult in the least. Mix in the flour, salt and oil to create a homogeneous mixture (basically a sticky, floury mass). Proper kneading technique would suggest that you fold the right hand side of the dough ball into the centre. Think of it like a clock, fold from 3 o’clock into the middle. Then turn it counterclockwise to 12 o’clock and push through, rolling the dough smoothly across the counter. Repeat. Or just do whatever works for you. You are looking for an end result that is smooth like a baby’s bum yet passes the windowpane test. A.K.A. you can rip off a piece of the dough, stretch it out and be able to see through it, without it tearing.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover it and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

Soft pretzels
Soft pretzels
Soft pretzels

Until it looks like this. A giant mushroom cloud of doughy goodness.

Soft pretzels

Then you can knock the air out and portion it out into 8 pieces like this (or less if you prefer larger pretzels).
You should probably get a pot of water boiling at this point too.

Soft pretzels
 Roll it into long thin strands.
Soft pretzels
To form the pretzel shape bring the ends together making a circular shape. Cross them creating an “x” then bring the tips back down to attach to the centre of the loop. Voila!
Soft pretzels

Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the boiling water. Cook for about 1 minute until the pretzels plump up.

Soft pretzels
Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment and preheat your oven to 425 F.
Soft pretzels
If you like you can brush them with egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse salt but I forgot the egg part and just proceeded with the salt. Although they probably didn’t brown as much, they ended up being vegan which is nice if you have any vegan friends to share them with (or are vegan yourself).
Soft pretzels
Soft pretzels

Bake at 425 F until golden about 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.

Soft pretzels
Soft pretzels
Soft pretzels
Eat up! They are best when straight out of the oven, soft and warm. However they do freeze well which is always a bonus when cooking for yourself. They would definitely go stale before I got around to eating all 8!

2 thoughts on “Soft Pretzels

  • February 15, 2012 at 5:17 am
    Permalink

    Hey girl! I was just thinking about you earlier today and planning to check in. Great timing. The pretzels look perfect! I still haven’t tried making them myself.

    Good luck with the snow. I was just thrilled to stay below 75 today! I stand here begging for just a few more weeks of “winter” and I’m betting you’d just as soon call it done!

    Reply
  • February 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm
    Permalink

    Hm, I am going to try these… You know, the vegan variation 🙂 Boiling dough seems like a funny idea but I guess it shouldn’t go wrong.

    Reply

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