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Mini Soft Pretzels

Mini Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 16 full sized pretzels, 32 mini pretzels, or a whole lot of pretzel bites

2 cups warm water (100F to 110F) (should feel warm to the touch, but not hot)
1 tablespoon, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Oil or cooking spray, to coat bowl
¼ cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt

1. Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.
2. Add 1 cup of flour to yeast and mix on low with the paddle attachment (or dough hook if you prefer) until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more of flour, mixing until combined. Beat on medium low speed until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add another ½ cup of flour and knead in mixer on low for 1 minute more. (Or turn out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead by hand.) If dough is still sticky, add another ½ cup of flour. Knead until smooth.
3. Oil a large bowl (or spray with cooking spray). Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or spray with cooking spray to coat; set aside. Punch down dough to remove any air bubbles. Transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface and divide into 16 pieces (or 32 if you’re making mini pretzels). Cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out while you’re working with other pieces.
5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into a 12 to 15 inch long rope. Shaping the rope into a U-shape, bring the right end of the rope over the left end about 3 to 4 inches from the top. Repeat, bringing the right end over the left end to create a double twist at the top of the U. Fold the twist over so the ends touch the bottom curve of the U, shaping as necessary to create the classic pretzel shape. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Continue shaping the remaining pieces of dough. Let pretzels rest about 15 minutes, or until they’ve puffed slightly. (*Alternately, roll dough out into ropes 1-inch thick. Cut rope into 1 ½-inch pieces to make pretzel bites. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, careful not to put them too close together, otherwise they’ll stick to each other!)
6. While pretzels are resting, fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add baking soda (carefully, because it will bubble furiously! And make sure your pot has high sides, because it might boil over otherwise.) and two remaining tablespoons of sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. (They’ll sink to the bottom first, but after about 10 seconds they’ll float up to the top making them easier to flip over.) Use a slotted spoon to drain off as much of the water as you can before transferring to baking sheets. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, or eat warm. They are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered for up to 2 days. Don’t store in a covered container or they will turn soggy!

Brought to you by The Busty Baker (http://www.bustybaker.com)
Original Post: http://ladolcivita.blogspot.com/2011/02/mini-soft-pretzels.html


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