Sometimes you just need something warm and doughy. When I get this feeling, I usually just make cookies.
But wait. This is ‘Merica! And here we don’t just do things the easy way! Oh wait. Well, we do, but these are really a great change from cookies. Yes, pretzels from scratch take a little more effort – but they are infinitely more impressive. Also it’s October and they are a perfect accompaniment to beer.
These are really great plain sprinkled with sea salt or brushed with butter and topped with cinnamon sugar. Dare to make these a little healthier with replacing 1/2 cup of the white flour with whole wheat.
What you’ll need:
2 Teaspoons active yeast
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
3 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
additional butter, cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
For the bath:
1/8 cup baking soda
1 cup very hot water
Dissolve active yeast and 1/2 teaspoon white sugar in the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes until frothy. In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and salt. Make a well in the center and add frothy yeast mixture like so.
Now it’s time to work all of it together to form a dough ball. Add water if it’s too dry, add flour if it’s too sticky. Knead for several minutes until all the ingredients are combined and it’s a nice consistency that stays together but still has a little elasticity. Form into a ball. Lightly oil a large bowl and dough ball and drape a damp towel over the top. Stick in an oven with just the light on (no heat) for an hour.
After the hour it should have doubled in size.
Next is the fun (ish!) part! Punch down the dough. Literally, punch it down. Slap it like it’s your dough bitch. Personally, I like to punch it then spank it.
Divide into 6 even pieces. Roll it into long ropes that are about the size of your finger. A little fatter is fine! Then twist it into a little rope. This takes a little time so I do it while I’m watching TV or listening to a podcast. You end up with something that looks like this.
Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Using a paper towel, dab the water onto every part of the pretzel twist you can see. Top and bottom.
For regular pretzels, sprinkle with rock or pretzel salt after the soda bath.
Bake at 440 degrees for 7 minutes. I always do a test batch of 1 or 2 pretzels, I recommend you do the same!
For cinnamon pretzels, brush liberally with butter while still warm. Sprinkle with desired amount of sugar and cinnamon.
Eat while warm or just pop in the microwave later on.