I do love pretzels. Salty pretzels. Cinnamon sugar pretzels. Pretzels at the mall. Pretzels on the corner in NYC.
Pretzels dunked in cheese. Covered in mustard. Drizzled with honey or peanut butter. Pretzel wrapped hot dogs.
I can go on, but I think you get the point.
I have been working in retail for over 15 years… so soft pretzels have always been a convenient snack for me to get. Whether I needed to go down to the food court at the mall, or to the guy at the hot dog cart across the street, I have usually been able to satisfy my pretzel cravings without having to make much effort.
Last week, I took a staycation from work. I wanted a salty snack, but I felt guilty ordering in. I mean.. I was home for a week. I should be able to fix myself a snack.
I remembered seeing an amazing recipe for cheese spread in the American Craft Beer Cookbook… and decided to go for it. Let’s make some cheese dip and bake sometime to dip in it!
Turns out, making pretzels is not too hard! My first attempt did not yield the most beautiful pretzels, but they sure tasted FANTASTIC! The perfect amount of saltiness, fluffiness, tenderness, and just the right shade of golden brown.
I also tested these pretzels with multiple dips. I did this as a test, for you… so you can be knowledgeable about how to eat them. In this experiment, I learned that these pretzels are delicious with cheese dip, mustard, honey mustard, and NUTELLA. A nice, flavorful beer, (like an IPA) on the side is also a tasty treat. Yes, I did this research for you, and you’re welcome.
homemade soft pretzels
- 1 1/2 c warm water 110-115° F
- 1 T sugar
- 2 t Kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 2 oz unsalted butter, melted
- vegetable oil, for coating baking sheet
- 10 c water
- 2/3 c baking soda
- 1 egg yolk
- flaky salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir sugar and salt into the warm water. Pour the yeast on top, and allow it to activate for about 5 minutes, or until it is bubbling.
Add all of the flour and butter to the bowl. With the dough hook attached, mix the ingredients on low speed until all ingredients are combined. Raise speed to medium, and allow the dough to knead until it is smooth on the outside, and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Wipe down the inside of the bowl with paper towels, and then oil it with vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and store in a warm place for about 50-60 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450° F. Prepare the baking sheets: line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly brush them with vegetable oil. Set the baking sheets aside.
On a lightly oiled surface, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 24 inches. Form each rope into a "U". Then, take the top arms of the "U", pull them downward, crossing on the way to the bottoms, and then pinch them where they meet the bottoms of the "U". Place each pretzel on the baking sheets.
Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil. Place the pretzels in the water, one at a time, and boil for 30 seconds each. Remove with a large wide spatula, or a wire spider strainer, and place back on the baking sheets.
Beat the egg yolk with 1 T water. Brush the tops of each pretzel with the egg mixture, and sprinkle with the flaky salt.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the pretzels are a dark golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
tools I used: