Those of you who are lucky enough to have spouses or partners who love to join you in the kitchen, I envy you. Dr. O is wonderful (really!) and has many redeeming qualities, but he does not cook. He does not slice, he does not chop, he does not stir. He rarely even toasts.
So you can imagine how good Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe must be if it’s the one thing that gets him in the kitchen. He asks for them again and again, knowing that I’ll only make them if he helps. (These pretzels are so amazing that I might make them even if he didn’t help, but I’ll never tell.)
Here’s the recipe if you want to give them a try:
Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm (110° to 115°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 water
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Source: Alton Brown, FoodNetwork.com
This recipe produces absolutely amazing results. This is the best soft pretzel I’ve ever had – at a stadium, a bakery, anywhere. If you’re a pretzel person (and I am!), we’re talking ecstasy.
We tried honey mustard and spicy brown mustard as dipping sauces; the spicy brown won, hands down. The pretzels would be fantastic with cheese as well. We had a few leftover pretzels (hard to believe!); some were sliced horizontally for sandwiches, others were reheated in the microwave for 25 seconds on high. The reheated pretzels weren’t quite as good as fresh out of the oven, but they still beat the heck out of a SuperPretzel.
TIPS: If you don’t quite get how to form the pretzels, watch Alton do it here.
Recipe link: Homemade Soft Pretzels