So the first thing you probably noticed is that my pretzels are ugly... like super ugly. But, what they lack in beauty, the made up for in taste! These guys were delicious. They're a little bit of work, but most of the work is down time waiting for them to rise, freeze, then rise again, then the worst part - waiting for them to bake - its so hard when they smell sooooo delicious!
If you have a rainy Saturday with not much planned, these are a perfect way to spend the day! You can make them at a leisurely pace and enjoy the process and the fruits of your labour!
Bavarian Style Soft Pretzels
Minimally adapted from Fine Cooking - Oct/Nov 2012 Issue
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 19 1/2 oz (4 1/2 cups) flour
- 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- vegetable oil or cooking spray
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp pretzel or coarse salt
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and let stand until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, sugar, oil and salt. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are hydrated and form a coarse ball of dough, 2-3 minutes. Add more water as needed, 1 tsp at a time, if all of the flour isn't incorporated into the dough.
- Increase the speed to medium low and mix until the dough becomes smooth, supple and elastic, about 3 minutes. The dough should be soft but only slightly tacky; if it seems sticky or very tacky, sprinkle in more flour, as needed.
- Form te doug into a ball, transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it is about 1 1/2 times its original size, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Lightly mist a work surface with oil and transfer the dough to it. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (about 6 oz each). Form each piece into a smooth, round ball, lightly mist wit oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest on the work surface at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
- Line a large baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper and set aside (I needed two of them). Lightly mist a work surface and using your palms and fingers, roll each piece ofdough on the work surface into a rope that is about 30 inches long and 1/3 - 1/2 inch thick (note, this is why mine are ugly - I didn't roll my ropes long or thin enough). If the doug resists or shrinks back, let it rest for a few minutes while you work on other pieces; short rests will let the gluten relax enough to allow for the full rollout.
- Working with 1 dough rope at a time, shape it into a large U that is 5-7 inches across with the curved side closest to you. Take the two ends of the rope in your fingers and cross one over the other so ends overhang the cross by about 3 inches. Twist the ends of the rope, shortening the overhang to about 2 inches. Next, pull the twisted section toward you and fold it down over the bottom curve of the U so the ends are a couple inches apart and overhand the bottom by about 1/4 inch.
- Carefully transfer the partzels to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly and reshaping as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze til hard, at least 2 hours and up to three weeks.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda and stir til completely dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.
- Using stainless steel tongs, dip one pretzel into the baking soda bath at a time and soak for five seconds. If the liquid doesn't completely cover the pretzel, turn it over and submerge the other side for five seconds. Remove pretzel from liquid and allow excess to drip off. Return to baking sheet.
- Brush tops and sides of pretzels with some of the beaten egg. Let pretzels thaw and rise at room temperature until they are soft and puffy, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400F. Brush pretzels once more with egg. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake until dark golden-brown, approximately 20-22 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
So, like I said, a little labour intensive, but well worth the effort. Hope you enjoy!
Happy Baking my Friends!