Monday, August 2, 2010

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I finally made them!  Yes, they were fantastic, but they were also much easier than I anticipated.  I did a search on my favorite food blogs and they all were using Alton Brown's recipe.  Who am I to argue with Alton?  We took the kids to the drive-in last night, complete with homemade soft pretzels.  We dipped ours in mustard...what will you use?  Here are the steps to get to your delicious pretzel:

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.  Set aside.  Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top.  Allow to sit 5 minutes.  Add the flour and butter.  Use the dough hook attachment to mix until combined.  Knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Remove dough, clean the bowl and oil with vegetable oil.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap (I used press and seal).  Let sit in a warm place for approximately 50-55 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

When the dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees and bring a large pot of water and baking soda to a boil.

Divide dough into eight pieces.  Roll each piece into a 24 inch rope.

Begin to shape your dough into a pretzel shape.  Start with a U and then cross the ends over each other to form your pretzel.

Press down at the seams so they do not come apart while boiling.  Place onto greased parchment paper.

These are shaped and ready to go into the boiling water.

Drop each pretzel individually into the boiling water for about 30 seconds.  It will rise to the top of the water when it is ready.

Remove them with a large spatula and place back on parchment lined sheet.

Brush them with egg yolk mixture.  Sprinkle with salt.  (I didn't have pretzel salt on hand so I adjusted my salt grinder to make thick grinds of salt.)

Here is a close up of what it should look like when ready to go into the oven.  Bake for 12-14 minutes. 

They should be dark golden brown in color.


Place on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

I like to use a stackable cooling rack for something like this.  Saves space and ensures they all cool quickly.  The faster they cool.  The faster you can eat them!

We plan to try different varieties next time.  But for a first run, I think they turned out perfect!

Here is the recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels by Alton Brown.

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