January 18, 2011

Do The Twist!: Soft Baked Pretzels

I love soft baked pretzels! We have a membership at Sam's Club and almost every time I go, I have to get one of the soft pretzels! (They're only $1.00!) I came across this recipe in the December 2010 edition of Food & Wine magazine and was really excited to give it a try. All the ingredients are normal stocks for any baker and therefore would be very inexpensive to make. I really enjoyed this experience and the outcome . . . ooh, yummy! Enjoy!

German-Style Pretzels
Active: 45 min Total: 4 hrs Makes 8 pretzels

3 and 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
1 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 quarts water for boiling
1/2 cup baking soda
coarse or pretzel salt

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer with dough hook, combine flour, warm water, yeast, salt and butter. Knead on medium speed until evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Knead on high speed until smooth, elastic dough clings to the hook, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and cover loosely with a dry towel for 5 minutes.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and form each into a ball. Re-cover with the towel and allow to rest for another 5 minutes.

On an unfloured surface roll each ball into a rope, tapering the ends. Shape into a "U", cross the ends twice to make the twist, then bring the ends to the bottom of the "U" and press the tips into it. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and let stand uncovered in a warm place 45 minutes or until slightly risen. Then refrigerate uncovered 2 hours or overnight.

To bake: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dissolve baking soda in 2 quarts of boiling water. Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds, then drain on a wire rack before salting with coarse salt. Bake on top and middle racks in the oven until they are shiny brown and risen, about 17 minutes. Shift the pans half way through baking, if applicable. Let cool slightly before serving.

  • The whole wheat flour held together much better than with all-purpose flour and looked much more attractive as real pretzels once they were finished.
  • When using all-purpose flour, be careful that the dough doesn't rise too much if you really want them to maintain their pretzel appearance.
  • Use a little bit of water on your hands to help roll the dough into ropes.
  • When boiling the white flour pretzels, it might be better to do them one at a time instead of several at once, so that each pretzel will stay well-formed and won't boil longer than intended.
  • Do not bake the pretzels on the parchment paper because they will stick once they are cooled! It might be better to bake them directly on a cookie sheet greased with butter.
  • I used salted butter and they came out wonderfully. I never use unsalted butter because I'm too cheap to buy it special when I have the other always in stock.

1 comment:

Anna Gibson said...

These look great! I am definitely going to have to try my hand at making them.