This recipe turns up the kind of warm, soft pretzels you pay big bucks for at the mall. My biggest problem with them is getting them formed into a real pretzel shape. However, you can also twist them and that’s a lot easier. Or, you can cut them into smaller pieces and make them “pretzel bites.” They taste the same no matter what shape they are.
I’m going to give you the official recipe, then I’m going to give you notes. The dough should be a little bit sticky. It needs to be a bit sticky so you can press it together to form a shape. My first batch came out perfect. My second batch came out a bit too dry. The difference was probably the flour. The first batch was made with standard Wondra flour. In other words, regular bleached white flour.
The second batch was made using stone ground unbleached white flour. Those came out a bit dry for the shaping and twisting process. The taste was the same, but they wouldn’t hold together.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE THE DOUGH
1-1/2 cup of warm water (warm to your touch, NOT hot)
1 tablespoon plain salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I prefer 1/2 tablespoon)
1 packet active dry years (2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast)
4-1/2 cups of white flour
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
INGREDIENTS FOR BOILING
2 beaten eggs
Coarse (Kosher) salt
Large pot of boiling (rolling boil) water
2/3 cup baking soda
450 F (230 C) (Preheat your oven if it requires preheating).
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they have a nice, golden top
If you have a strong beater with a dough hook, use it. You can do it with a wooden spoon and your arm, but the beater is SO much easier! Overall, a good beater works better, too
Step 1: Put the warm water, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl. Use the bowl in which you are going to beat the dough; save washing another bowl.
Step 2: When the yeast gets a bit foamy, add the oil and the flour.
Step 3: Set the dough hook on the machine, put the mixing bowl on the machine, and watch it become dough.
Step 4: When the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, dump it out on a big board.
Step 5: Wash and dry the bowl. Spray it with oil (or rub a light layer on the inside of the bowl using a paper towel).
Step 6: Cover bowl with a layer of saran wrap or something like it and leave it in a warm place for an hour to rise.
Step 7: Empty the dough onto a big board. Punch down the dough and knead it a few times. This is a good time to take that big pot of water, pour in the baking soda, and turn up the heat. While the water is coming to a boil …
Step 8: Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Stretch and roll out the dough just like play dough until it’s about 24 or more inches long. Form it into whatever shape is easiest for you. THIS is where it really helps to have a slightly sticky dough. When it’s dry, it’s hard to make it form a shape and hold it.
Step 9: After you have all the pieces shaped, boil each piece for 30 seconds. If they don’t turn themselves over, turn them over yourself. But they usually flip themselves. Remove them from the water using a flat spoon with a lot of holes. Be careful. Wet pretzels are very slippery.
Step 10: Use a brush to cover each pretzel with egg. Shake or use your fingers to spread salt on all the pretzels.
Step 11: Cover a baking pan or two with aluminum and spray it with oil spray. Place in a heated oven. I use my really big countertop oven so I can watch them as the bake and know when to take them out.
Let the pretzels cool slightly on baking racks. You can just take them off the tray on the aluminum foil. It’s a salt overload of the finest kind.