I love soft pretzels. Love them! The are one of my most favorite ballpark treats. That chewy crust, the soft bread, the sprinkles of salt and the delicious cheese dip is just too much for me to resist.
I'd always wanted to try making soft pretzels on my own, but just figured they would be too hard. That is until my baking hero Annie of Annie's Eats posted a how-to on soft pretzels. I knew I had to try! So, one Chiefs Sunday I decided to make them before the game.
I'm going to be honest. I had no idea how soft pretzels were made and when I got to the part about boiling them in baking soda water (!?!) I just had a feeling that I was doomed. The whole time I was in the kitchen I kept yelling out to Zach, "Don't expect much!", "There's no way these are going to work", "I have no idea what I'm doing!". Needless to say, I was less than optimistic. I was constantly surprised when each step turned out to be rather easy! I was doing it! I was making soft pretzels! Using yeast and baking soda water and everything!
from Annie's Eats
For the dough:
1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt
To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope. Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
You guys, These. Were. Amazing. I couldn't believe it! I'm not even joking when I say this might very well be my most favorite thing I've ever made. Yes, that's how much I love soft pretzels! They tasted even better than at the stadium! We froze the ones we didn't eat right away and then heated them up a couple weeks later by thawing them a bit in the microwave and then putting them back in the oven for just about 3-4 minutes. Perfect even re-heated!
You must make these. Nowish.