While watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and no I don’t have any children, I noticed Fred visiting a pretzel factory. It brought back memories of my father taking me to the Anderson Pretzel factory located in Lancaster, PA, and I began craving those salty soft dough twists. It is amazing how many different types of food lay around in our cupboards as simple ingredients ready to be assembled, so, off to the kitchen I went!
I had never made a pretzel before, but found it quite easy really. It was a bit time consuming yes, but simple. I found a recipe months ago that I had been meaning to try. The recipe comes from the Strothotte family website, and what a recipe indeed. It yields roughly 1 dozen pretzel twists or 3 dozen 6 inch sticks. I will now take you step by step, with pictures, into the world of delicious home-made soft pretzels.
Soft Pretzel Recipe
1 tbsp Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp softened butter or softened margarine
1 cup warm (~115º F) water
2 3/4 cups flour
Coarse Salt to sprinkle on Pretzels
5 tsp baking soda
4 cups water
1. Put yeast, sugar, salt, butter, water and 1 cup of the flour into a medium mixing bowl and pour in the water. Stir till all smooth, and yeast starts to bubble (about 5 minutes).
Note: I used my new stand mixer. Plopped it all in and mixed on “stir”.
2. Add the rest of the flour, stir till it is mixed in. When mixture is too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading. Knead dough till smooth and till it no longer sticks to the bowl and your hands.
Note: Again, I used my dough hook to knead until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow dough to double its size (roughly 10-60 minutes in a warm place. Depends on humidity and warmth).
4. While dough is rising, spray a cookie sheet (very important), and boil baking soda and water mixture on the stove (in preparation). Preheat the oven to 475º F.
5. When dough has risen enough, punch down, knead for a minute or so, then divide and roll into 12 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter sticks. Cut into 6 inch pieces or make into the pretzel shape. To make the pretzel shape begin with a “U” shape. Cross the ends over one another. Twist ends around once more. Then fold up to the top & pinch. See these 4 steps below.
6. Allow sticks or pretzels to sit for about 1-2 mins. Place them into boiling water-baking soda mixture one or two at a time. Let the pretzels boil for 1 minute 10 seconds, then flip them over with the slotted spoon and boil on the other side for 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Note: This boiling step gives them a firm skin and adds some flavour. Not boiling long enough leaves them too soft and allows them to rise too much. Boiling too long makes them tough.
7. Fish them out of the water, let them drip off and place them on the greased cookie sheet. When all the pretzels or sticks are done, sprinkle the coarse salt on them.
8. Bake for 9-15 minutes or until sticks or pretzels are golden brown.
Note: Be careful and watch your pretzels. The look raw for a while and then brown suddenly so watch out.
And here is a finished golden brown tasty salty soft pretzel. Good luck and happy cooking!