My recent trips to Germany and Austria have had me craving those hot, soft and chewy pretzels that you can buy from street vendors to sit down restaurants alike. I’ve lost track of the number of pretzels I’ve actually eaten but I wanted more. Being back here in Albania, the only real option is making my own so making my own I did. This recipe from King Arthur Flour is surprisingly easy and the results are pretty close to the the Bavarian styled ones I had been craving. They tasted much better than they looked and disappeared in a matter of minutes.
HOT BUTTERED SOFT PRETZELS
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water (adjust accordingly to yield a soft dough)
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Place the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Process for 5 seconds.
- Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process for a further 45 seconds.
- Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Loosely cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm or cooler.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray or lining it with parchment paper.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces.
- Allow the pieces to rest uncovered for 5 minutes. Pour the baking soda/water mixture into a 9 inch square pan.
- Roll each piece of dough into a long, thing rope (about 28 to 30 inches long) and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with four pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops. Leave for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. The baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
- Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with the salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
- Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Eat the pretzels warm or reheat them in the oven or microwave.
Yield: 8 large pretzels