Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homemade Soft Pretzels

The most surefire way around our home to make someone's day is to whip up a batch of something in the bread machine. Although I could use my stand mixer for simply putting together a batch of yeast dough, I love my bread machine's dough cycle. Layer in the ingredients and walk away. I probably use the dough cycle to prep yeast dough products more than I use the machine to bake actual loaves of bread. These homemade soft pretzels are one of the reasons why.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

1 cup water, slightly warm
2 tablespoons water, slightly warm
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 tablespoons buttermilk
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda

kosher or coarse salt

melted butter

Layer the first eight ingredients in bread machine in order listed. Set bread machine for dough cycle, usually 90 minutes. Alternatively, use stand mixer to mix and knead dough for ten minutes. Cover and let rise for one hour.

Remove dough from bread machine and punch down. Divide dough into twelve pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 18" long. The thinner the rope, the larger your finished pretzels will be and the more open they will be. Now here's the tricky party: forming the pretzel. Place the rope horizontally in front of you, bring both ends towards you forming and upside-down U shape. Criss cross the ends twice about midway along the rope forming a twist. Bring both ends straight up until they touch the top of the inverted U. A little hard to verbally describe, but hopefully these photos will help.

Place formed pretzels on lightly greased baking sheet or non-stick baking mats on a baking sheet. Let rise for 30 minutes. It's not necessary to cover them at this time. Slip the baking sheets into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. (If space is an issue, you can skip this step. The dough will just be a little harder to work with for the next step.)

While the dough is chilling, bring 3" of water to boil in a large stockpot. Add baking soda and ensure that it is thoroughly dissolved.

Remove trays from refrigerator and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Carefully lift one pretzel from tray and place into boiling water. Repeat with another pretzel if you have room in your pot. Try not to crowd them or they will stick to each other. Pretzels will rise to surface and begin to swell and crack on the surface. After 30 seconds, remove with slotted spoon or spatula and place back on baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Continue until all pretzels have been prepared in this manner.

Bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes rotating sheets halfway through cooking. They are done once they take on a light golden color. Now you may brush them with melted butter - if you are able to fend off the waiting onlookers. If they beat you to the finished pretzels before you can finish this step, I promise they will be just as tasty.

If you prefer other toppings such as sesame seeds, chopped garlic, or poppy seeds, they can be used along with or instead of the coarse salt ... your choice.

3 comments - click here to leave your comments:

Debbie said...

I'm going to give this a try. I always wondered how to do this.

Amber said...

I love soft pretzels! Thanks for sharing. We made them once, but I didn't know about the boiling step and so they weren't as yummy. Will try again this week.

Wii Mommies said...

OOH! I love fresh pretzels, I'll give it a try!

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