i've waited all week for these. and the pretzel bite and pretzel roll recipes that showed up on other blogs this week didn't help the craving. so this morning i gave in.
the dough comes together quick and the boiling part isn't nearly as complicated as it first sounds. if you have pretzels that don't keep their shape while boiling - i had a couple turn back into long ropes - push the joints together before boiling or just reshape them after boiling, before they're baked. no biggie.
i like mine with lots of salt, jason likes his with a little salt...so i made them exactly how we like them...
...and i left a few unsalted just for this -
warm them up in the microwave, brush the top with melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. perfection.
you'll notice alton's recipe makes 8 pretzels and the first time we made them, we made 8. but you end up with 8 big pretzels, like food court at the mall sized pretzels. and really, they're too big when you just want a snack sized pretzel. so i cut the size in half and reduced the bake time since they aren't as thick. long story short - make them whatever size you want. you want them smaller? go for it, just check on them around 8 minutes. want them bigger? i'd still check at 9 minutes, but they'll probably take a little longer.
based on alton brown's homemade soft pretzels
makes 16 4 inch pretzels in 1.5 hours (includes rise time)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 packed active dry yeast
22 ounces all purpose flour (about 4.5 cups)
2 ounces melted unsalted butter (about 4 tablespoons)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
nonstick cooking spray
pretzel or kosher salt to sprinkle on top
- combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit about 5 minutes, until foaming.
- add the melted butter and flour to the bowl. mix on low speed with a dough hook until combined. turn the mixer up to medium and mix about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- remove the dough from the bowl, spray the inside with cooking spray, and replace the dough back in the bowl. cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. preheat the oven to 450F.
- bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a boil.
- while the water is heating up, turn the dough out onto a well oiled cutting board. using a pizza cutter or chef's knife, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (i cut mine like a pie).
- roll each piece of dough into a rope about 18 inches long. form into a pretzel shape and place on the baking sheet. roll and form all pieces.
- drop pretzels, 2 at a time, into the boiling water. boil for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spatula or wire spider, and place back on the baking sheet. repeat with all the pretzels.
- brush the tops of the pretzels with the beaten egg and sprinkle with salt to your liking.
- bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- let cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
- these are best eaten within 10 minutes of coming out of the oven, but a quick 20 seconds in the microwave works well too.
- do not store in a sealed bag or food storage container as they will become wet and lose some of their chewiness. consume within 3 days, if you can make it that long.