Sunday, May 5, 2013

Soft Pretzels!

Today is the day where we tackle your favorite snack bar food, the soft pretzel!!
These have easily become my absolute favorite thing to make due to their simplicity and deliciousness.

Let's dive in!

Pretzel Dough:

1 1/2 cups Warm Water*
2  1/4 tsp Instant Yeast**
1 tbsp Sugar***
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 oz Melted Butter (1/4 cup)
4 1/2 cups AP Flour

*110-115 degrees or just warm to the touch.  You do not want it too warm because it will kill the yeast!
**While there are many types of yeast, Instant yeast is the easiest to work with.  Not only is it the quickest working... it also is hard to kill, like Jason Bourne.  Fresh and Active Dry yeast can be killed by coming in contact with salt, as where Instant does not.  If you are using one of the other types, do not add the salt right away.  You want to create what is called a Flour Wall, which is basically where you have the water, sugar and yeast that have gotten all foamy and ready to party then add the flour as a barrier between the yeast cocktail and the salt on the top.  This will ensure your yeast doesn't die too before performing its duties!
***The sugar does not add sweetness, it is to feed the yeast its final meal before it so gracefully gives you your risen dough! 

Place water, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixer and mix with a dough hook for 5 seconds.
Add the flour and with the mixer going on low stream in the melted butter.
Mix on low until all ingredients are combined.
Then turn the speed up to medium for 4-5 minutes.  You want the dough to be completely pulled away from the bowl.
Cover the mixer with plastic wrap tightly and keep in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has double, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface or a silpat.
Cut the dough into even pieces and roll each piece and twist into whatever kind of pretzel shape that you want.
Here is a link to show you the classic way:

Once all your pretzels are shaped, boil 4 cups of water with 1/4 cup of Baking Soda.  Add one pretzel at a time into the boiling water for 5 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon drain excess water off the dough and place on a lined sheet pan. 

Continue this process until each pretzel has been boiled.  Brush each pretzel with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake @ 425 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and delicious!!  Brush with a little more melted butter and enjoy!

This recipe is a base recipe to make any flavor you'd like.  Try sprinkling Parmesan Cheese on top before baking or mixing in Cinnamon Sugar for a sweet treat!

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