Warm pretzels, fresh from the oven, firm and shiny on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Serve them with some mustard and my kids gobble them up after running around outside on a cool, breezy afternoon!
Step 1: Gather All the Ingredients Together.
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon of cold water
Course salt or pretzel salt
Step 2: Make the Dough
Add the kosher salt and the sugar to the warm water in the mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and melted butter to the mixing bowl and begin to mix, using the dough hook, on low speed.
Step 3: Continue to Mix
As the flour becomes incorporated increase the speed of the mixer slowly to high and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticky add more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. This should take 4-5 minutes.
Step 4: Oil the Bowl
Once the dough is completely kneaded, smooth and elastic remove it from the bowl. Wipe out the bowl and coat it with a small amount of vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the bowl and turn it around to cover the dough with oil.
Step 5: Cover and Rest
Cover the dough in the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for 50-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled.
Step 6: Divide and Conquer
Dump out the dough on a lightly floured board and divide it into 8 equal pieces.
Step 7: Shape the Pretzels
This is the fun step! Get the kids involved rolling, twisting and shaping the dough. First, roll each ball into a rope 24 inches long. Next, pick up one of the ropes, hold it at each end and make a "U" shape. Next, twist the two ends together in the middle of the sides of the "U." Bring the ends down to the bottom of the pretzel and stick them to the pretzel. You may have to arrange the dough a bit yourself to get the perfect pretzel shape! Place each pretzel on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper brushed with oil or a silicone baking mat.
Step 8: Let Them Rest
While the pretzels hang out on the cookie sheet heat the oven to 450 degrees and get a large kettle of water boiling. Add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boiling the pretzels for a few minutes before baking them makes the outside smooth and shiny and the inside soft and chewy! The baking soda in the water will help them turn golden brown in the oven.
Step 9: Boil the Pretzels
Carefully place the pretzels into the boiling water no more than one or two ar a time. Boil for 30 seconds, flip, then boil for 30 seconds more. Use a wide spatula with holes to flip and remove the pretzels from the boiling water. After they have boiled for a minute place them back on the sheet pan.
Step 10: Salt and Bake
Mix the egg yolk with a Tablespoon of cold water. Brush this on to each pretzel and sprinkle them with salt. Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes.
Step 11: Cool and Enjoy
Remove the pretzels from the oven and let them cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite mustard or nacho cheese.