I truly enjoy my do-nothing Sundays. No chores, and church usually takes place on a Saturday afternoon. So with all random task aside, I like to use my Sundays for food blogging, or in today’s case, for baking. Soft pretzels seem to be a good choice…
This recipe is originally adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
- *Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- coarse, kosher or pretzel salt, optional
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I did not do hot buttered pretzels)
1) To make dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
2) While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).
3) Preheat your oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper (or SILPAT, if available).
4) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). (I made medium-size pretzels, plus six pretzel sticks just for fun; together I made 12 medium and 6 pretzel sticks)
5) Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour the baking soda/water into a medium-size bowl/ or square pan.
6) Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 30″ long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. This baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
7) Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
8) Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
WITH BUTTER (OPTIONAL)
9) Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
Yield (approximate): 8 large pretzels; or 12 medium-size pretzels and 6 pretzel sticks; or 24 pretzel sticks