Soft Baked Pretzels
With back to school right around the corner I'm on the hunt for new and fun lunches I can send with my daughter. Sandwiches only get you so far in the year, so when they start to fail you try soft pretzels and cream cheese. I have been making these pretzels for years but usually just for Ottawa Senators game nights or summer afternoons on the deck with an ice cold beer and a bowl of mustard. When stuck for lunch options on day I stuck a pretzel in my daughter's lunch with a small tub of cream cheese and it was a huge success! Who knew?!
I love these for their fluffy insides, and beautifully golden and salted crusts. Now because I'm just working from my home kitchen these won't have that super dark, thick and chewy crust that commercial pretzels have. The reason for this is lye. I don't have any, nor do I have any interest in working with it. Not at home with a 7yr old around anyways. And honestly I much prefer the texture of these, I sometimes find "true pretzels" to be tough and chewy. To help with the puff and crust (the job lye does) we use a baking soda boil. Sounds strange but believe me it works! AND while this recipe makes 8 large pretzels it's super easy to freeze them and then just boil and bake from frozen. Great way to keep snacks on hand.
Super Fluffy Golden Pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 22 oz all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 4 tbsp (2oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- Pretzel, Kosher, or course sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, sugar and yeast. Mix and let sit a couple of minutes to foam up a bit. With a dough hook add in the salt, flour, and melted butter. Mix until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides (4-5 minutes). Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen preheat your oven to 450F and line a large baking sheet or two, with parchment paper.
Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile dump the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and cut into 8 equal-ish pieces. Keeping the unused pieces covered with a damp towel while you work roll each piece into a 24" roll and shape into a pretzel (cross the ends, twist around each other, and push the ends gently in the the middle of the U to attach). At this point you can place the shaped pretzels on a baking sheet and freeze them before transferring to a freezer bag for long-term storage.
When all pieces have been formed place them in the boiling water for 30 seconds (flipping to ensure both sides puff) be sure not to crowd the pot. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the pretzel salt (or whichever salt you've chosen to use - I always use kosher). Once all the pretzels have been boiled, bake for 12-14 mins until golden brown. *if boiling and baking from frozen add a few seconds to the boil time and an extra minute or two to the bake time
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool for a few minutes, or do as I do and eat them as soon as you can pick them off the tray! Definitely best served warm and right away. Be sure to have some friends around or you run the risk of eating them all yourself (unless of course you were smart and froze a bunch).
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