Monday, April 26, 2010

National Pretzel Day

Soft Pretzel

1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup warm (115 degrees) water
2 3/4 cup flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups (room temperature) water
Coarse salt to sprinkle on pretzels before baking
*Optional: Cinnamon sugar mixture*

Mix 5 teaspoons baking soda with 4 cups water in a non-aluminum saucepan.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Put yeast, sugar, salt, butter and ONE CUP of the flour into a medium mixing bowl and pour in the water (115 degrees).

Stir till all smooth, and yeast starts to bubble. Add the rest of the flour, stirring until it is mixed in. When the mixture is too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading.

Knead dough until smooth and it no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands.

Allow dough to rise to about double its height.

While dough is rising, grease a cookie sheet and prepare the baking soda and water mixture by bringing it to a boil on the stove.

When dough is risen enough, punch down, knead for a minute or so, then divide and roll the 6-inch sticks with your hands, to about 1/2 inch in diameter, or 12 15-inch long rolls to make into the pretzel shape.

Allow the sticks (or pretzels) to sit for about 1-2 minutes. Place them into the baking soda and, now boiling, water mixture one or two at a time.

Let the pretzels boil for 1 minute 10 seconds, then flip them over with a slotted spoon and boil on the other side for 1 minutes 10 seconds.

*This boiling step gives them a firm skin and adds some flavor. Not boiling long enough leaves them too soft and allows them to rise too much. Boiling too long makes them tough.

Fish them out of the water, let them drip off and place them on the greased cookie sheet.

When all the pretzels are done, sprinkle the coarse salt on them.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.

*If you would rather have cinnamon sugar pretzels, skip adding salt to them before baking. While they are baking, melt 1 stick butter. After pretzels are baked, dip them in the melted butter and then into cinnamon sugar mixture.

Sorry for the lack of photos - had all the ingredients (even pretzel salt) except yeast. Kinda hard to make pretzels without the yeast.
I am hoping to make them soon anyway - I love cinnamon sugar soft pretzels!
They look kinda like the pretzel below - heavenly!

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