Soft pretzels are popular street food items, often found in big cities like New York. They can be plain or coated with various flavors such as cinnamon-sugar or everything bagel seasoning.
Making pretzels at home can be a fun and rewarding baking project. Here’s a simple recipe to help you create delicious soft pretzels:
For the Dough:
- 1 and 1/2 cups warm water (around 110°F or 43°C)
- 1 packet (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- Coarse salt, pretzel salt, or other toppings of your choice
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- Prepare the Dough:
- In a bowl, combine warm water, active dry yeast, salt, and sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy.
- Gradually add the flour to the yeast mixture, mixing until a dough forms.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
- Let the Dough Rise:
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
- Shape the Pretzels:
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Punch down the risen dough and divide it into sections. Roll each section into a rope, about 20-24 inches long.
- Form each rope into a pretzel shape: Make a U shape, cross the ends over each other, and press them onto the bottom of the U shape to form the classic pretzel twist. Press gently to ensure they stick.
- Boil the Pretzels:
- In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil.
- Add the baking soda to the boiling water (be careful, as it might foam up).
- Gently place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 30 seconds. This step helps give the pretzels their chewy texture and distinctive flavor.
- Egg Wash and Toppings:
- Remove the pretzels from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and place them back on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush each pretzel with the beaten egg to create a shiny finish.
- Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt, pretzel salt, or other desired toppings.
- Bake the Pretzels:
- Bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown and have a crisp exterior.
- Cool and Enjoy:
- Allow the pretzels to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
- Enjoy your homemade soft pretzels! They’re best enjoyed fresh, but you can also store them in an airtight container for a day or two.
Feel free to get creative with your pretzels by adding toppings like cinnamon-sugar, cheese, or even dipping them in mustard or cheese sauce. Making pretzels at home is a wonderful way to enjoy this classic snack and impress your friends and family with your baking skills.