Can anyone resist soft pretzels? I used to love grabbing a hot buttery pretzel at the mall or eating a dozen at my sister’s in-law’s after a pretzel making party (what, you guys don’t have those?). Well, I used to. The pretzel place in my mall closed and was replaced with froyo, which is just fine but not really the same kind of snack. Plus my sister lives across the country and doesn’t come around often for pretzel parties. I’m not in on the family’s secret recipe, so it was only reasonable to make my own, right?
A word of caution with these pretzels, they don’t have the shiny, chewy outside like I dream of in a pretzel. It seems like the only way to achieve that is to give them a quick hot bath in lye. While I have no problem eating a million pretzels cooked in lye, I have trouble doing that myself (what if I do it wrong and poison myself?) and definitely have reservations about telling anyone on the internet to do so. So my advice is to stick with the baking soda bath. These pretzels are 98% perfect and it’s just not worth the risk to go the extra 2%, right?
I might be a little absent the next week. For one, I’m STILL having blog issues — anyone else having issues with Jetpack or BlueHost? Josh has spent a lot of time back and forth with tech support, but both companies keep insisting the problem is on the other end, ugh! The second, more exciting, reason is that I’m visiting my sister in Seattle. If you have any delicious food recommendations or sights we HAVE to see, let me know! I’ve been there a couple times, but Josh hasn’t been. Don’t worry, I definitely plan on stopping by the Theo chocolate factory and Field Roast!
2 tbsp melted butter or buttery spread (dairy free for vegan version) or 2 tbsp water
1 c minus 2 tbsp water, warm to the touch but not hot
2 tsp baking soda
Pretzel salt or coarse sea salt
Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until combined, scraping the sides if necessary and adding up to an addition tbsp water. The dough should be a little sticky.
Increase to medium speed and knead for 10 minutes. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
In the last few minutes of rise time, fill a wide pot with a couple of inches of water and bring to boil. Add 2 tsp of baking soda to the water and whisk to dissolve.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and spritz a baking sheet with nonstick spray
Divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll the dough into long snakes using your hands and twist into your favorite pretzel shape. The dough will puff up more, so make them just a little thinner than you want your pretzels.
Drop your pretzels one or two at a time into the water, boiling for about 20 seconds or until they float. Scoop out with a slotted spatula, shake off the excess water, and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
Let boiled pretzels rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Bake for 9 minutes then switch to broil for 1 or 2 minutes until brown and toasty on top.
While many pretzel recipes call for the butter to be brushed on top, I preferred to bake a little butter into my pretzels instead. This helps temper the wheaty feeling you can get with whole wheat baked goods (and it also helps to use white whole wheat). Be firm when shaping the pretzels to ensure they don’t come apart in the water bath (i.e., press the seems together securely).