I have been having an on-and-off soft pretzel craving for at least two years. There is no Auntie Anne’s here or anything similar. They probably sell pretzels at some restaurants or cafes; but I haven’t thoroughly done my homework, since the craving would just come and go. I wanted to get one at the airport when we where in Lima this past November. But as cravings go, I didn’t feel like one when I got to the counter. And of course I regretted not getting one later on.
But since it has been on my to do list for a while, I finally decided to make them at home. They are super easy to make. The time that you actually have to do something is minimal. They need an hour to rise and 8 minutes in the oven. So I just set my timer while I was busy with other stuff.
This recipe makes 12 pretzels
For the dough:
1 cup of warm water
1 package of dry yeast (7gr)
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
For the water bath:
10 cups of boiling water
2/3 cup of baking soda (here in the Netherlands, you can find it in a toko/asian store or in a pharmacy)
For the egg wash:
1 tablespoon of water
Coarse sea salt
Place the warm water and the yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Do it on low speed for about 5 minutes, until it stops sticking to the edges and it forms a ball. You can also knead it by hand.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with some vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment with vegetable oil.
Start making the water bath. Mix the boiling water with the baking soda in a large pot. Make sure it is not completely filled to the top because the baking soda bubbles a bit. Leave the heat on medium, while you work on the dough.
Place the dough in your working area.It is easier to roll them without any flour on the counter. Divide it into 12 equal pieces.
Roll out a piece into a 25cm rope. Fold the rope in half. Twist together the 2 halves and then pinch the ends together to seal them. Repeat for all of the dough.
Place the twists in the water bath for 30 seconds. I did 4 at a time. Then remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and place each piece in the prepared baking tray.
Once they are all done, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle some coarse salt on top of each one.
Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
They are best when eaten fresh out of the oven. But you can also keep them until the next day and reheat them at 180C/350F for 5 minutes.
Note: I recently made them into knot shapes as an appetizer. I just divided the dough into 32 pieces, rolled each piece into a string and tied a knot. The rest of the process is the same.
Great to pair with beer!!