I am a fan of all pretzels, but the big, soft pretzels is really where it’s at so I thought I’d share with you this easy, homemade soft pretzel recipe for your big celebration I know you’ll be having tomorrow!
I was doing a little research (which means I searched google once) trying to find out why there was such a day, and of course there was no real information, but I did learn that pretzels are believed to be the world’s oldest snack. According to some weirdo food holiday website, they date back to year 610 AD in Southern France. Monks supposedly baked thin strips of dough in the shape of a child’s arms folded in prayer. None of this information is proven, so take it with a grain of salt.
And speaking of salt (corniest segue ever?), why not throw some on top of your pretzel. Salt is the most common seasoning for pretzels and one of my favorites. For this batch I did half salt and half Parmesan cheese; both equally delicious plus I had some leftover cheese from earlier in the week when I made those ravioli’s.
Making pretzels are relatively easy. You start out very similar to making bread (yeast, flour, butter, salt, sugar) and let that rise. After that’s all done, you get a large pot full of water and add in a good amount of baking soda and get that to boil. The baking soda and hot water bath gives the pretzel’s their signature chewy crust. While waiting for that to boil, roll that dough out into long ropes (about 24-inchlong) and twist into that traditional pretzel shape. Slather with an egg wash, top with your seasoning of choice (in my case salt for half and cheese for the others) and put those doughy-knots in the oven until golden brown.
So easy and they come out of the oven smelling so delicious! They are best eaten right away, dipped in a warmed cheese sauce or a spicy, mustard. You could even do a caramel sauce if you were going the sweet route. Oh and a beer is essential, what goes better with a pretzel than a nice hoppy beer.
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cups baking soda
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together (egg wash)
- toppings (coarse salt, cheese, etc...)
- Combined the water, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. The water should be about 110 degrees F.
- Sprinkle yeast over top of water mixture and stir together. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, butter and yeast mixture and stir on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 4-5 minutes).
- Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 45-60 minutes).
- Once the dough has doubled, combined the water and baking soda in a large, wide pot and bring this mixture to a roiling boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, the the dough onto a slightly oiled surface and divide into 8 pieces.
- Roll each peach of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends, and crossing them over to form the classic pretzel shape. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Once all pretzels are formed, slowly set the pretzels into the boiling water (I did two at a time) for about 30 seconds. Remove from the water using a spatula and place back on the baking sheet.
- Brush the top of each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt or cheese.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 12 to 14 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.