Have you ever tasted a mall pretzel? If not, you're definitely missing out. If you have, you know how delicious, yet expensive, they can be. Did you know that you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen it takes to make these bad boys? Well, I decided to take a wham at it, and here's how you can do it too.
Step 1: Preparing Yeast
Active Dry Yeast - 4 tsp
White Sugar - 1 tsp & 1/2 cup divided
Flour - 4 cups (the original recipe calls for more, but this worked for me)
Warm Water - 1 1/4 cups
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Vegetable Oil - 1 Tablespoon, plus more for oiling the bowl
Baking Soda - 1/2 cup
Hot Water - 4 cups
Topping of choice (here I used butter and salt, but you can use cinnamon and sugar as well.)
First, you're going to dissolve your yeast and 1 tsp of sugar into a small bowl with the warm water. Let sit for about ten or so minutes, until it's frothy like the picture. While you're waiting for that mixture to froth up, you can mix together half of the flour, the rest of the sugar and the salt.
Step 2: Making the Dough
Make a well in the center, and place 1 tablespoon of your vegetable oil and your frothy yeast mixture in the center and mix it all up. Add a little more flour until it looks like this. You'll probably end up using four cups.
If you add too much flour, you can always add a little water to make it doughy.
Step 3: Kneading the Dough
That's some good lookin' dough! Now take it out of the bowl and knead it until it's smooth, which will probably take eight or so minutes. Feel free to add some flour while you're kneading if the dough feels too sticky.
Step 4: Let It Double in Size
When you're done kneading, lightly oil the bowl and place your dough in it. Make sure oil gets all over the dough. Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and set in a warm place (like in front of a window) for an hour at least. The dough needs to double in size.
Step 5: Preheat Oven
After your dough has doubled, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Step 6: Prepare Baking Soda Solution
In a large bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Set aside.
Step 7: Shaping the Pretzels
Place your risen dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (I did six at a time). Roll each piece into a rope. Roll it on the counter or roll it between your palms. Now make your rolled dough into that classic pretzel shape!
Step 8: Dipping in Baking Soda Solution
Once all the dough is shaped and pretty, dip them into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. If you would like, you can baste the pretzels in butter before baking. The baking soda solution is needed to make the pretzel crust. Skipping this step is not advised.
Bake the pretzels for 8-10 minutes, or until browned.
Step 9: Final Touches
As soon as they come out of the oven, put more butter and sprinkle some salt on them. Enjoy!