Soft Pretzels

I got my March issue of Sunset Magazine this week and my favorite article was about home made mustard.  It had never occured to me that mustard was a condiment that one could make at home.  I’ve made home made bbq sauce but that’s about it.

While I still haven’t made mustard (I plan to this weekend!), it got me thinking about what one eats with mustard.  TT2 said, pretzels!

“You could make pretzels and then we could dip in your mustard!”

I had no idea the boy liked pretzels so much.  Turns out that he likes dipping them more in bbq sauce than mustard, so all was not lost without home made mustard.

I can’t believe how easy it was to make these! The hardest part was waiting for the dough to rise!  I don’t know if I can justify buying a pretzel again, because they that easy to make.  You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now. I did, and this is unheard of.  With all the baking I’ve been doing recently, my pantry is now fairly well stocked with baking supplies.

Soft Pretzels, from The Joy of Cooking

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 package yeast
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 tlbs butter, melted
  • 1/2 tbls sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup additional water
  • 2 tbls + 1 tsp baking soda

Combine warm water and yeast in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add flours, butter, sugar and salt to yeast mixture and combine throughly.  Add additional water as needed until you get a dough that is moist, but not too sticky.

Knead dough for 10 minutes and then place in an oiled bowl.  Turn over once, to coat the ball with oil.  Let dough rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down after first rise and then divide into 5 pieces.  Let pieces rest for 10 minutes.

Now, roll the pieces out into logs until they are about 18 inches long.  Place the dough in front of you and form a U, with the curve on top and the open end closest to you. Like this: Π (I have no idea what this symbol is, but it’s a good reference!)  Now, cross the pieces over each other in an X and then attach them to the top of the U.  Repeat process with the rest of the balls and then let rest on a greased sheet pan until they are doubled in size, about 35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put 8 cups of water in a pot with the baking soda.  Bring to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.  Gently place pretzels in the water and simmer for 30 seconds on each side until they are poofy.

Place back on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with corse salt.  Bake until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

My apartment actually smelled pretzels!  I was so surprised after I put them in the oven, because the dough is pretty similar to basic bread dough.  The baking soda bath that they get before they go into the oven gives them that tangy, pretzel-y taste.

There’s not much butter in the dough, but there’s enough to give it some richness.  The sugar also added a hint of pleasant sweetness as well.  The kickers for me though, were that super tangy taste that the baking soda gave them, and the salt on top.  I didn’t have corse salt, so I just sprinkled them with fine sea salt and they turned out great!  I also cut this recipe in half because I didn’t want to make 12 pretzels.

Maybe I should have made more-TT2 came home and inhaled four within minutes of coming in the door.

Yay for the weekend, shopping and mustard are on the agenda!

Happy eating!


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