I have a confession to make. I am a stress baker. A couple of months into the term, I made a coursemate about three dozen chocolate chip cookies for his birthday. And while yes, part of that was because it was his birthday and no one had given him a cake, it was also because I was stressed and needed to bake. So what do I do when I’m two thirds into an assignment that’s due on Monday? If you answered “Complete the assignment, duh” you would be absolutely wrong. I made soft pretzels.
My love of soft pretzels goes back to the days I would go with my mom to Sam’s Club. For those of you who have no idea what Sam’s Club is, it’s a members-only store that sells food and goods in bulk. Great for a family of five. All the Sam’s Clubs I’ve been in have had delis at the front, and I used to love going shopping with Mom so I could get a soft pretzel. Those were treats.
Yesterday, I decided it had been too long since I’d had a pretzel, so I was going to make them. A quick trip to get yeast and all purpose flour and I was set. I’d found a recipe on Pinterest and decided to test it out.
The recipe is as follows:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
1 cup warm water
1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour + up to 3/4 cup more if needed
2 cups water
4 tbs baking soda
1 tbs coarse salt, for sprinkling on top
6 tbs salted butter, melted
Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a mixing bowl. Let sit until the yeast becomes frothy. Slowly add in the 3 cups of flour, a cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Turn onto a board and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is elastic-y and smooth. Place back in the mixing bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
During this time, start on your baking soda bath. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Let the mixture boil until the baking soda is mostly dissolved and then turn the heat off, allowing it to cool to lukewarm. Then transfer to a 9×9 dish, or any other deep pan you have.
Break off sections of the dough and roll out to form your pretzels. Then dunk in the baking soda bath and let sit for 2 minutes. After the pretzels finish soaking, pull them out of the bath and place them onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake in a 450 degree oven (230 Celsius) for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and coat liberally with butter.
The full recipe can be found here
My only mistake in making these was I didn’t read the instructions well enough, and I only let the pretzels sit in the baking soda water for a few seconds, rather than two minutes. They turned out with a less-chewy outside than I was aiming for, but the taste overall an the inside texture were perfect. This is definitely going to be a go-to recipe for me from now on.