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Soft, Fluffy, and Buttery Pretzels

Soft, Fluffy, and Buttery Pretzels

I’ve have a bit of extra time on my hands lately. So I decided to scroll through the 10,000+ pictures on my phone. In my defense, all the pictures accumulated/rolled over the last decade from device to device. It’s safe to say that 20% of the pictures are of my dog, 5% are people, and 75% is food.

I found some hidden gems in my photo album that I totally forgot about. Like my Switzerland photos. I used to work for a company located in Basel and traveled there every few months. My coworkers and I loved grabbing dinner at local joints. The pretzels are bigger than your face dipped in cheese beer. While I never enjoyed the work meetings, I did enjoy the food and local scenery. Cravings for soft, fresh pretzels came crashing in.

Traditional pretzels are topped with pretzel salt. But regular kosher salt or other seeds/nuts are totally acceptable. I used poppy seeds. While I loved the texture of my pretzels, I was sad I couldn’t make it bigger than my face. It takes some serious skill to make it that big. There are some positives to a smaller pretzel. Pro: the pretzel isn’t rolled out too thin so you have a good fluffy center.

Pretzels use some really simple ingredients. The only “speciality” item was the baking soda bath. The hardest part for me was knowing how to twist the dough into a pretzel shape. My words of twisting wisdom: after the rope is rolled out, pull the two ends to the top. Then twist the ends together 2-3 times and pull the twist downwards to middle of the rope. Pinch down the ends of the rope into the middle of the pretzel rope and reshape the whole thing slightly to make it rounder. Good luck twisting and tugging!

From Scratch Pretzels

May 19, 2020
: 8 servings
: 1 hr 15 min
: 50 min
: 2 hr 5 min

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooked
  • Oil for coating
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
Directions
  • Step 1 Add warm water, yeast, and sugar to a medium bowl. Stir gently to just combined. Let sit and allow to get frothy/foamy for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Step 2 In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt and make a well in the middle. Then add the yeasted water and oil. Mix with a spatula until a dough begins to form.
  • Step 3 Knead with hands for about 5-8 minutes until a smooth and soft dough is formed. It should look consistent and no dry patches of dough.
  • Step 4 Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough into it. Cover it tightly and place in a warm location to proof for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until dough doubles in size.
  • Step 5 Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Step 6 While dough is proofing, boil about 10 cups of water in a large pot. Add baking soda and and stir until completely dissolved. Keep water at a simmer and return back to the dough.
  • Step 7 Line two half sheets with parchment paper.
  • Step 8 Lightly flour a working surface and roll out the dough onto it. Punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Keep pieces covered when they are not being worked on.
  • Step 9 Roll each piece of dough into an even rope about 18-20″ long and shape into a pretzel form. Place pretzels onto the half sheets.
  • Step 10 Submerge the pretzels one by one into the baking soda water for 20-30 seconds. Place pretzels on top of a dish towel or paper towels to soak up excess water.
  • Step 11 Place beaten egg into a wide and shallow dish. Dip both side of the pretzels into the egg to coat. Return pretzels to the half sheet.
  • Step 12 Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of the pretzels and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Step 13 Cool before eating.
  • Step 14 Serve with cheese beer and pickles.


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