Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cup warm water {the water temp should be 110-115 degrees in the bowl}

1 pkg dry yeast {make sure it hasn't expired!!}

2 TBS light brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda


Toppings:

1/2 stick melted butter + 1 tsp sugar

cinnamon + sugar {optional}

kosher or pretzel salt for garnish


Sprinkle yeast and brown sugar over warm water in a mixing bowl.  Combine gently and quickly with your fingertips and wait about 5 minutes.  I watch closely to make sure yeast activates.  It will start to bubble and foam up.  You want to make sure it happens before proceeding.  If your yeast doesn't properly activate, your dough will not rise sufficiently.


Add flour, salt, melted butter and knead with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.  Start on low to combine ingredients and then move up to medium speed. Knead until dough pulls away AND is smooth in consistency. Don't over knead.  I do find the dough pulls away from the bowl quickly, but I knead it a little bit longer to get it gorgeous and smooth. {Somewhere between 3-5 minutes} Then remove dough from the bowl, clean out the bowl and oil it with vegetable oil.  Place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place it in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.


Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Once dough has risen, turn it out onto an oiled board.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, and then each half into 4 or 5 equal portions.  One at a time roll into a skinny rope, make a big U and twist the center twice into a pretzel. 

 

Place onto parchment lined baking sheets.  I oil the parchment sheets too.  Bring 10 cups water and baking soad to a boil in a large pot. Working with one pretzel at a time, drop into the water/baking soda bath for 30 seconds, the return to the baking sheet.  Once you've done this for each pretzel, place them in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.


Remove them from oven, dip in melted, sweetened, butter and top with salt or dip into a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  


Makes 8-10 pretzels