Homemade Soft Pretzels:
In a small measuring cup stir the yeast and white sugar into lukewarm water. Let
stand until foamy (about 5-10 minutes).
the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours,
brown sugar, and salt.
Gradually pour the yeast mixture
into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add
the melted butter, then knead this mixture on medium speed until you
have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic, and just a little sticky (this
will take about 3 to 5 minutes). Shape
the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled large bowl, turning once so
the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from
forming on the top of the dough). Cover with
plastic wrap and let rise in a warm
place until doubled (approximately 1 hour).
Then gently press the dough to release the
air and let rest about five to ten minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450
degrees F (230 degrees C). Have ready a baking sheet that is lined with aluminum
foil. Thoroughly spray the foil with a vegetable spray or brush with a
In a large skillet or Dutch
oven mix 1/3 cup (90 grams) baking soda into 8 cups (2 liters) water. Cover and
bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, divide the dough
into six equal portions (each portion should weigh about 105 grams) and cover them with a clean dish towel. Working with one
portion of dough at a time roll the dough back and forth, using both hands with
even pressure (working from the center outwards), until you have a 24 inch (60
cm) long rope. Lift the rope periodically as you roll to make sure it's not
sticking to the counter. Then form the rope into a U shape with the two ends
pointing away from you. Take the two ends and cross them, left over right, about
2 - 3 inches (5 - 7 cm) from the ends. Then cross the ends again, right over left. Lightly
moisten the two ends with water and fold the two ends down and press them into
the bottom of the U at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. This will give you that classic
"pretzel" shape. Place the pretzel onto your prepared baking sheet. Cover your
baking sheet with a clean towel and continue rolling and forming the other five
portions of dough into pretzels.
Next, using a slotted spoon or
wire skimmer, gently place one pretzel into the boiling water, top of the
pretzel facing down (I like to place two pretzels into the boiling water at a time).
Boil for 30 seconds, then turn the pretzels over and boil for an additional 30
seconds. Remove the pretzels from the water using your slotted spoon, drain, and
place the pretzels back onto your prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the
remaining pretzels. You should be able to fit all six pretzels on one baking
sheet as the pretzels don't really rise in the oven.
In a small bowl whisk the egg
yolk with the cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the pretzels
with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle the pretzels with a little pretzel salt,
sesame seeds, or poppy seeds.
Bake the pretzels for about
10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown. Half way through baking, turn your baking
sheet front to back. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Homemade
pretzels are at their best the day they're made. But they can be covered and
stored at room temperature for a day or two.
large (4.5 inch) (11.5 cm) pretzels.
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