Cloudy days make me crave comfort food. Yummy, full of gluten (which I generally steer clear of), soft and chewy comfort food. While the kids are at my mom’s house I figured I would make us all a treat. Soft pretzels. They are so tasty and easy to make. This recipe makes 16 large pretzels or 32 mini pretzels. Perfect for watching the big game, slumber parties or relaxing on the couch reading gossip magazines .
2 cups warm water (warm enough to the touch that you can tolerate it, not so hot that it burns)
1 tablespoon, plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg
coarse or kosher salt
1. In a large measuring cup or bowl mix 2 cups of warm water with yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix in to dissolve and let stand for 10 minutes. If your water is too cold you yeast won’t do anything. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast. Your yeast should look like this after 10 minutes.
Yeast in first minute
yeast after 10 minutes
Yeast after 10 minutes
2. Combine 5 cups of flour with the salt. Use the dough hook on your mixer to combine. Add in your water/yeast mixture and mix until dough starts to pull away from the sides. If your dough is really sticky add in more flour a 1/2 cup at a time.
3. Turn out your down onto a well floured surface. Continue to hand knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Makes sure to flour your hands before touching the dough otherwise you will be a sticky mess.
4. Put dough into an oiled bowl and roll it around so the dough is covered in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
After rising for 1 hour
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Punch down the dough and divide into 16 pieces for large pretzels or 32 for mini pretzels. If your dough is shrinking back when you roll it out just let it rest for 5 minutes.
7. Roll each piece into a 12 – 15 inch long rope. Shape the rope into a U. Bring the right end of the rope over the left about 3 to 4 inches from the top. Repeat, bringing the right end over the left to create a double twist at the top of the U. Fold the twist over so the ends touch the bottom of the U. Transfer to baking sheet. Don’t put them to close together or they will stick together when they are resting.
8. Let pretzels rest for 15 minutes or until they are slightly puffed up.
9. Preheat oven to 450F. While pretzels are resting, fill a large pot with 3-4 inches of water and bring to a bowl. Add baking soda. This can get messy! Add the baking soda slowly so it doesn’t boil over. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer.
10. Add 3 or 4 pretzels at a time (depends on pot size) to simmering water. Poach for 1 minute on each side. Use a slotted spoon to drain off as much water as possible and put back onto baking sheets.
11. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, or if you are like me start eating the second you can handle them without getting burned.
The pretzels will keep for up to 2 days in an uncovered container. They get soggy if they are covered.
It seems like a lot of steps but they are actually really simple and well worth the time. They can also be made with Spelt flour. Spelt flour still has gluten but not as much as regular all purpose flour. Start with 5 cups of spelt and see how your dough looks. Add 1/2 cup more at a time if needed until you get the proper consistency.