MP was at a play date with the kids, and one of the parents brought a tray of beautiful hot pretzels and mustard. Adults and kids alike were delighted by this unexpected treat. There’s nothing like a salted soft pretzel right out of the oven.
That being said, MP was intimidated to try pretzel making on her own. She has never been a patient baker when it comes to working with bread dough. But after trying and succeeding with this simple artisan boule recipe over the winter, she decided to give pretzel making a go. Ironically, MP found this pretzel recipe on the back of a supermarket pretzel sticks bag.
Like all bread making projects, this recipe requires just a few basic ingredients from the pantry and a little patience. Make your dough a day ahead and plan to have your family shape the pretzel dough the next day. After forming your pretzels, plan for 45 minutes rising time on the baking sheet before placing them in the oven.
1 Tbsp. of yeast, dissolved in 1 cup of warm water
4 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. of sea salt or Kosher salt
3-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Baking soda solution:
2 tsp. baking soda mixed with 1 cup of hot water
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm tap water.
Pour the yeast/water mixture into a large bowl and mix with brown sugar and salt. Slowly add the flour and mix until the dough is sticky and well combined. Note: If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook attachment (a tool that’s worth the splurge for regular bakers) this recipe becomes even easier. Otherwise a wooden spoon and some good arm strength will do.
If the dough seems too sticky, add a little more flour and mix to combine. With floured hands, collect the finished dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lidded container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
To begin, flour the surface of a table, and grease two baking sheets with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 6-12 pieces (depending on how big you want your pretzels to be). Roll each piece between your hands, until the dough looks like a thin rope, a little bit bigger than the width a pencil.
CP#1 is a whiz at rolling pretzel dough (much better than her mama).
Now it’s time to get creative! CP#1 experimented with peace signs and braids. If you’re more traditional, like MP, shape the dough into an upside down “U” on the table. Bring the ends together and twist them. Flatten the ends and bring to the top of the pretzel. Place the finished pretzels on a cooking sheet and allow them to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425º while you wait. You can also mix the baking soda and water in a shallow bowl.
Pretzel after 45 minute rise.
When the pretzels have risen, carefully dip each pretzel in the baking soda solution, and place them back on the tray. Next, beat your egg and water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush each pretzel with the egg wash.
Egg wash makes for a prettier pretzel.
CP#1′s beautiful braided pretzel before going into the oven.
Top your pretzels with Kosher salt, sesame seeds, parmesan, or cinnamon sugar.
Bake the pretzels in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the pretzels are a golden brown. These are best eaten fresh from the oven, but you can freeze any remaining pretzels for future play dates or family gatherings.