One of the best traditions Beaven and I ever started was Grand Camp which is basically whenever we get our granddaughters here to stay more than a weekend--usually at Spring Break. We're facing the end of Grand Camps with Sarah in her last year of college now. Fortunately, she will be teaching school so will continue to get to celebrate Spring Breaks indefinitely, in theory.
And one of our great traditions of Grand Camp is cooking. We started with cherry pie and continued through dutch oven biscuits and roasts and pizzas. Eventually, she started bringing me recipes. This year it is pretzels.
Sarah made these exactly as the recipe said. Probably the butter was salted butter but I've never known that to make much difference. Maybe we will end up in the bad corner of Chef Heaven. Also, we didn't have parchment paper and used aluminum foil and the pretzels stuck to that. So, for the second batch (because they were THAT good) we went to the store and bought parchment paper.
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast 1 standard packet
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tbs unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + up to ¾ cup more if needed
2 cups water
- 4 tbs baking soda
- 1 tbs coarse salt for sprinkling on top
6 tbs salted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line a large baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.......my oven runs a little hot and she ended taking them out early when they started looking like they would burn.
2. Combine yeast with warm water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Once mixture becomes "frothy" your yeast is ready. Stir in salt and 1 tbs of melted butter. Add flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need more or less depending on temperature differences. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable.
3. Form dough into a ball by hand. Lightly grease the bowl used previously and place the dough back in to rest for 15 minutes. Cover with a damp towel.
4. In a medium sized pot, boil 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish once cooled down.
5. After 15 minutes, take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long. Shape dough into pretzel shape and place in baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork or spatula and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly.
6. Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt while still wet. Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheets.
7. Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately from the oven, brush (heavily) with 6 tbs of melted butter.
8. These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they’re good as new!
I have some photos and videos I can post later. We've made these twice now and the second time they weren't quite as crunchy as the first--the difference being that the first time we didn't have parchment paper so substituted aluminum foil for the first time then we bought some to use for the second batch. Sarah thinks aluminum foil gets hotter and makes the difference. She likes them either way. I like the crunch. Also, I spread way too much salt on them. watch the salt.