Over the weekend, some friends of mine (including three of us OAM girls) gathered to have a little Oktoberfest-style celebration. We drank German beer, grilled up some sausages, and rolled out some homemade soft pretzels.
They were such a big hit that I decided to make them for the October Clothing Swap. I had found the recipe in one of my Penzeys Spice catalogues, and it turns out they are really not that hard to make!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 1/4 Cups warm water (warm meaning around 100 degrees so the yeast will activate)
1 TB rapid rise yeast (1package is 2 1/4 tsp, so you’ll need 2 to get 1 TB)
1/4 Cup brown sugar, packed
2 Cups bread flour
1 1/2 – 2 Cups All-purpose flour
4 Cups water
4 TB Baking soda
Kosh-style flake salt or other seasonings as desired – get creative! We did some with cinnamon and sugar
How to make them:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Add the sugar and 2 cups bread flour, stirring well. Add the first cup of the all-purpose flour and stir well again. Turn out onto a floured surface and add as much of the flour as needed to make a nice soft dough. Add a sprinkle at a time while kneading, as soon as the dough starts to stick. Kneading about 10 minutes will give a nice smooth elastic dough ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to double in size but it should be substantially bigger after 30 minutes.
Preheat over to 500 degrees. Divide the dough into 12-18 pieces depending on the size of the pretzels you want.Roll each piece of dough into a “snake” about 18″ in length. If you want perfect “toes,” roll to 20″ and flip the final inch in on itself on both ends and roll a bit until smooth.
Twist into pretzels
Pinch the “toes” – this is important to keep the pretzel from unfolding in the boiling water. The pinch seems dramatic when you do it but you can hardly tell in the finished pretzel.
Bring the 4 cups of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. Dip each pretzel in the water-baking soda mixture, one at a time for 5-10 seconds, making sure to get the water of the top of the pretzel – a lotted spoon works well for this.
Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (make sure you shake off most of the water, you don’t want your pretzels sitting in puddles of water), sprinkle with FLAKE SALT or other toppings as desired (the seasonings won’t stick if the pretzel has completely dried off) and bake at 500 degrees for 6-8 minutes. The pretzels will look done on top before they are brown on the bottom, so if in doubt use a spatula to lift and look. Once you’ve done it a few times in your oven, you’ll know exactly when they’re perfect. Remove quickly from the parchment to a cooling rack by sliding under the pretzel with a sturdy spatula with a quick firm motion. Sometimes they stick.
Whip up some dips if you want to get even more creative! We used a cheese dip for the salted pretzels and caramel buttercream frosting for the cinnamon-sugar pretzels!
You can also make the pretzels into sticks or nuggets – whichever you prefer! Here’s a photo from our Clothing Swap using the twist effect. Which if you add an almond at the end of each twist – you could totally make these look like witches fingers! ;)
Happy Taste Buds! – Bryce