Last week I got this HUGE craving for soft pretzels. I have no clue why, but I needed to have them! So over the weekend I decided to make some! I heard fabulous things about Alton Brown's recipe and now I know why! They were absolutely delicious and the perfect soft pretzel. These were also really easy and fun to make. I enjoyed twisting them into their fun little pretzel shape...I think they came out really cute! I made 3 kinds - Traditional salt pretzels which is what the recipe makes, and then I "made up" Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels and Garlic Parmesan Pretzels. I think everyone's favorite were the cinnamon sugar pretzels, although I loved them all! Even my husband who "doesn't like pretzels" gobbled the cinnamon sugar ones up. My personal favorite is a traditional pretzel dunked in some yellow mustard....what a treat!
Source: Alton Brown
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (I used kosher)
Optional: Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
2 tbsp butter, melted
Sugar and cinnamon, combined in a small bowl
Optional: Garlic Parmesan
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt for the traditional pretzels. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. (For Garlic Parmesan pretzels, also brush the top of the pretzel with the egg yolk and water mixture, then sprinkle on some garlic powder and grate Parmesan cheese over the top of the pretzel. Bake as directed. For cinnamon sugar pretzels, brush the top of each pretzel with butter, then sprinkle a generous amount of a cinnamon sugar mixture over the pretzel and bake as directed.) Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.