The perfect cure for a gloomy Sunday afternoon is a day in the kitchen. Today was that kind of day, so when hubby suggested making some homemade soft pretzels I didn't protest. I have had fresh soft pretzels on my list of must-make-in-my-lifetime for quite a while now, honestly I don't know why I've waited so long. Yes, the recipe requires some time dedication but it's not all that difficult really.
There were some many pictures to take, I chronicled a step-by-step guide for us all. But alas, this is not a picture book (so sad for me) so I will show you my last few. With a dozen pretzels I was able to get creative. I made 3 with sea salt, 3 with cinnamon sugar, 3 with garlic and parmesan seasoning and 3 plain (for those boring folks in the house, you know who you are). I couldn't wait for them to cool before I gobbled a nibble of each and every one (except the plain...pretty sure it was rather dull). And I was so excited they actually tasted like real pretzels, which is always a plus when that's what you're aiming for.
Soft Pretzels (from the Joy of Cooking)
1 C warm water (105-115F), divided
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C bread flour
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 C water (for boiling)
2 Tbsp 1 tsp baking soda
In large bowl of stand mixer add the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. let stand about 5 min or until dissolved. Add the flours, butter, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed while slowly adding the remaining 1/2 cup warm water.
Knead with dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more water or flour as needed. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces. On an unfloured surface, roll each piece into a ball. Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Grease 2 baking sheets. Roll each ball into an 18 inch long rope. To form the pretzels, lift the ends of the strip of dough so they meet and form an oval, but do not join the ends. Lift them and twist around each other about 3 inches from the end. Gently press the ends into the dough on each side.
Place pretzels on baking sheets, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Bring the 8 cups of water and baking soda to a boil in a big pot or deep skillet. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, gently slide several pretzels at a time into the water. Simmer for 30 seconds, then flip and repeat another 30 seconds. Return to the greased baking sheets.
Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice (go on and get creative!). Bake about 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.