Soft, Homemade Pretzels
(Makes 1 dozen pretzels)
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (instant yeast is fine; about 1 3/4 packages)
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
1/2 stick butter, for topping
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.
- Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture.
- Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl (Pam or other spray is fine), place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets.
- In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside.
- When risen, turn dough out (do NOT flour the surface of your work space!) and divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a rope about 24 inches long and twist into a pretzel shape. It will seem they are too thin but they will plump up when they're dipped and baked. Or you can get lazy and just cut each piece in half and do twists (see pic below).
- Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution (flip so both sides are good and covered by the water-soda solution. This step is what actually makes them into pretzels and gives you the awesome crunch on the outside.
- Place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.
- Brush with melted butter as soon as they are out of the oven.
|A little bit of pretzel feng shui?|
I was going for a tic-tac-toe in that picture above but *somebody* ate some of the cross bars. *cough* It may have been me... *guilty look* I couldn't help it! These are so yummy right out of the oven. I guarantee all 12 will be gobbled up in 10 minutes.
By the way, we were definitely lazy and didn't roll these out to 24 inches, which is why they look more like pretzel knots than those nice big mall pretzels. They taste just the same, though, and there's no harm in being lazy is there? I mean, no one's looking...
For some fun variations, sprinkle with cinnamon or garlic, or serve with a beer cheese dip or ranch dressing. I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know if you come up with any fun variations.
Stay warm, my friends!