I’m a huuuuge fan of soft pretzels, I mean HUGE! I can’t resist them. When I actually make it to a mall (there aren’t many in New York City) my nose can sniff out the Auntie Anne’s from department stores away. I finally took it upon myself to make my own pretzels, German-style, after seeing an episode of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives on the Food Network with delicious soft pretzels (I swear I could smell them through my TV).;)
These were fantastic, we actually ended up eating the whole batch in just a few short hours. We started with two, then every hour or so we’d have two more…it was a vicious cycle of salty, chewy, soft pretzels. I’m dieting, can you tell? I’m kind of drooling while I’m writing right now.
Even though I can’t have them at the moment, you can! So I urge you to indulge, even if it’s just for me.
German-Style Soft Pretzels
adapted from Once Upon a Chef
1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
1 packet active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking soda
coarse sea salt (or pretzel salt)
butter for brushing on top
Pour the warmed milk in a medium-large bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Let sit for about 2 minutes then mix in the brown sugar and 1 cup of flour with a wooden spoon. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir into the mixture. Add the remaining flour and salt and mix to form a slightly sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth but still slightly sticky. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (about an hour or 2).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside until needed. Punch dough down and turn out once again onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces depending on the size pretzel you want (I did 8). Roll and stretch each piece into a 20″-25″ rope. Form into a pretzel shape (form a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press lightly but firmly onto the bottom of the pretzel).
In a small, shallow baking dish dissolve 3 tablespoons baking soda in 1 1/2 cups water. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda water, arrange on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt or pretzel salt. Bake until golden about 8-10 minutes. To finish melt some extra butter and brush on pretzels fresh out of the oven.