Let me just say….I love soft pretzels. Like I really truly love soft pretzels. I used to eat them as my lunch. Just one delicious soft pretzel. It is something I treat myself to when I get back to the US to visit- usually from Auntie Anne’s, who makes my absolute favorite pretzel.
On the other hand, a dried out, hard “soft pretzel” is the absolute worst. There is nothing more disappointing.
So, for a really long time I have been hesitant to try and make them on my own. Not wanting to be disappointed. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with these homemade soft pretzels. They are absolutely delicious, soft, flavorful, with the perfect pretzel skin. And the best part is that they are way easier than I thought!
Begin by preparing your ingredients and setting them aside.
Next measure 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and add you 1 teaspoon of yeast and whisk with a fork until the yeast has melted into the water. Allow the yeast to sit for 1 minute.
Poor yeast mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the butter, sugar and salt and whisk lightly with a whisk.
Slowly add the first 3 cups of flour, 1 at a time, blending well until the dough is thick. Add the last 1 cup of flour and continue mixing. The dough should not be sticky and if you touch it with your finger it should bounce back slightly.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it by folding it over on itself several times. then form a ball, cover it with a clean dish towel and set it in a warm, dry place to raise for 30 minutes.
While you are waiting for the dough to rise you can prepare the soda bath. Just pour the soda into the water and set it on the stovetop for later.
Once your dough has raised, set the oven to preheat to 400°F and prepare two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Then take out a handful at a time and roll it into a long snake-like shape. I found that twirling the dough was the easiest way to stretch it out evenly. It should be approximately 20 inches long.
To make the classic pretzel shape: There are actually two twists involve. Cross the two ends over each other and then twist the dough back over on itself [see photos. I will try and do a video next time i make them to show the motion live. It is easier than it sounds].
Continue creating the pretzel shape with all of your dough until the dough is all gone and you have approximately 9 – 12 pretzels, depending on the size that you made.
To do the Salt bath:
Bring the soda water to a boil. When it is boiling lower your pretzel down into the water and count to 20. Lift the pretzel back out with a slotted spatula o spatula for frying so that the excess water can drain before you place it on your cookie sheet.
Do the first 4-6 pretzels and place them on the first cookie sheet. Coat each pretzel with melted butter (lightly) and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Place them in the center rack of the oven to bake for approximately 8-12 minutes.
When you have finished, and the first set it baking prepare the second 4-6 pretzels in the soda bath.
When they come out of the oven allow to cool slightly and then dig in! Because they are sooooo good when they are hot!
Enjoy! This has become a new hit at our home and I know we will be making them a lot more often.
*This recipe was modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction Soft Pretzel Recipe.