Soft Rye Pretzels

Recipe printed from chiknpastry.com

Soft Rye Pretzels
Adapted from Good to the Grain, makes 12

i tend to agree with Kim Boyce on this one - these twists are best right outta the oven. though I didn't try it, I'd be willing to bet that you could probably freeze them right after the poaching part (before butter and salt), and then bake them straight from the freezer (after buttering and salting). if you try it, let us know how it works! In our house, one Wetzel had his pretzel with grainy mustard, while the other had hers just plain.

ingredients
cooking spray
1 package active dry yeast
1 T honey
1 c rye flour
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 T kosher salt
1/2 c baking soda
2 T butter, melted
coarse sea salt, preferably Maldon

instructions
measure yeast into large bowl. heat 1.5 c water (warm, not hot) and pour over the yeast. add honey and stir, add flours and salt and stir again.

pour dough over floured surface and knead. add up to 1/2 c flour if needed, until dough is "tacky" but not "sticky" (it won't be smooth, but won't stick to your hands constantly). knead for about 12 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft. spray bowl and put dough into bowl. cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

once the dough has doubled, pour it onto floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. take each piece and roll out into a snake, about 17 inches long with thinly tapered ends. try to keep minimal flour down as your roll so the dough will roll out easier. form each snake into a pretzel shape by folding one third of the left side over the center and then one third of the right side over the left. place onto sprayed baking sheets and let pretzels rise for 15-20 minutes.

while pretzels are rising, place two racks at top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 450 F. fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and bring to boil. once pretzels have risen and the water is boiling, add the baking soda to the water. to poach pretzels, lift pretzel and place in hot bath; let each side boil for 30 seconds, removing from water bath with a strainer. pat excess water with a towel and transfer back to baking sheet. finish boiling pretzels, brush with butter, and sprinkle liberally with salt.

bake for 15-18 minutes rotating sheets halfway through. pretzels will be dark in color. transfer to rack to cool.

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