Soft Pretzels

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007

Prep Time: 30 min I
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Serves: 8 pretzels
 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

Directions

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (I actually put my dough in the fridge as I wasn't baking mine that night.  I didn't roll, boil, and bake my pretzels until the third night.  My dough rose a lot and I think I could have gotten 1 or 2 more pretzels out of it but other than that there were no hitches.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan. (I did this but found the water started to boil before I was done rolling the dough into shape which made for some anxious, hurriedly shaped pretzels! I suggest putting the water to boil after you've shaped few of the pretzels.)

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other (I gave them a twist and then pressed) and press onto the bottom of the U (at the point where the ends meet the U give it a good pinch.  This helps the pretzel to keep its shape.) in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula (I used one that had slots in it.) Return to the half sheet pan, (reshape if necessary) brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt*. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. **

*I brushed the first four pretzels with the eggwash but left off the salt as I was coating mine in cinnamon sugar after they were baked.  The second batch of four I left off the eggwash to see the difference.  These did not come out as pretty as the eggwashed ones.

**Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

While the pretzels are cooling (about five minutes) prepare two shallow bowls, one with filled with melted butter and the other with a cinnamon sugar mixture. (I didn't use a specific amount of cinnamon to sugar.  I made mine to taste.)Once the pretzels have cooled dip both side in melted butter and then transfer to the bowl that contains your cinnamon sugar mixture. Coat as desired. We covered ours completely. 

Storage & Reheating

I only coated the pretzels I was going to eat with cinnamon sugar.  I stored the extra pretzels that were completed cooled in a zip lock bag.  The following day I reheated mine in the toaster oven. I wrapped them loosely in tin foil so that the outside got a little crispy again but didn't brown.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at joes1pain@hotmail.com!

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