I started making these for (and with) my kids when they were very small. They love all things bread and I was looking to spice things up a little. By spice, I mean… add salt – LOL! We can’t resist soft pretzels whenever we are out and about and this home made version is delicious – and will save you a fortune. The kids love to make all the weird shapes they can imagine and fight over who made which one.
1 1/2 cups warm (110-115°F) water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for topping
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
Pretzel salt, if available << this is the only difficult part of this recipe. I hat to order a 2 lb bag last time I went looking for pretzel salt. I just stashed it in the pantry, but that was like 4 years ago. I still have half a bag. If you run across a small quantity – snag it!
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Prove 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, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, oil it well with vegetable oil, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
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.
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 and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula or tongs. Return to the baking sheet, 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 – 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.