By Cap'n Ron
When you make these Soft Pretzels, you'll find that they're so good, they'll be gone before they're cool. A great anytime treat.
Home Made, Soft Pretzels
As you can see by the writing below, done after the first time I made this, I liked, and have now made it a second time. I've gone over the recipe, simplified it, and adjusted the quantities to reflect 1/2 of what Alton Brown had in his. Since I can only use 1/4 sheet pans, 8 of these works perfectly. And, by the way, I happy to say that the result was exactly the same as the first time I did these, terrific. I've even taken a few more pictures, and made a few things in the instructions a little simpler to follow. ENJOY!
Something I've always wanted to do right is to make Bagels and Soft Pretzels. Rose and I tried them once upon a time, it could have been bagels, and they were to rise after you formed them. Well, when you boiled them, they deflated and ended up GROSS! After that fiasco I gave up trying to make them, although the temptation has always been there.
So, the other night I'm watching Bobby Flay in a Pretzel Throwdown, and neither he, nor the competition lets their pretzels rise after they've been formed. All they do is boil them in the baking soda water. After looking on the web, I found that Alton Brown's recipe was the best one that suited my needs, and didn't make 3 dozen.
Today was the day, and I made 1/2 a recipe. Made sure to pre-heat my oven, and went at it. It took me a bit to get the hang of forming the pretzels, but it was real close to watching Booby learn how to do it on TV and my second batch came out fine.
I got 8 4" pretzels out of 1/2 of the recipe. And, although I only cooked for at a time, I could have placed 6 on each of my small 1/4 sheet pans.
- 3/4 Cup Warm Water (110 to 115 Degrees F)
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt
- 1 Package Yeast
- 2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour, 2 - 2 1/2 cups
- 1 Ounce Butter, melted
- Vegetable Oil, for pan
- 5 Cups Water
- 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
- 1 Large Egg Yolk, Beaten With 1 Tablespoon Water
- Pretzel Salt, or Coarse Kosher Salt
1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
2. 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, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
Place the bowll on the counter, with a little additional flour, and need it for another 5 minutes, or so.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 30 to 60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 1 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. Or, 2 1/4 Sheet pans.
5. Bring the 5 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 6-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
6. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto the counterm and need in additional flour to make a fairly stiff dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
I rolled 4 pieces at a time, in 3 stages, and let it rest a little in between. First I got each piece elongated, then I went back to the first one, and got it to 15" - 20" long. Finally I went back to that first one, rolled it out to a little over 24" and shaped it as below.
The little bit of time it takes to work on each piece was plenty to let the dough relax. It made stretching the ropes real easy with no springing back.
7. 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 half sheet pan.
8. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the sheet pan.
9. 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, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
10. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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