Monday, February 25, 2013


This weekend I made soft pretzels for the first time.  I was on pinterest, saw a picture of a pretzel, and BAM that's all it took! It sounded SO GOOD!

The recipe I used was meant to mimic Auntie Annie's Pretzels--which we all know are the best thing in the world since apple pie.  They obviously didn't come out exactly like Annie's, but they were so soft and yummy that they were totally worth it!

To make these pretzels, start by warming two cups of milk in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Dump the milk into the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle two packets of dry yeast into it.  Let stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast is bubbly.

Add 6 Tbl of brown sugar, 4 Tbs butter (softened), 2 tsp of salt, and 1 cup of flour.  Mix together using the whisk attachment until blended.

Add 3 1/2 more cups of flour.  Switch to the hook attachment and knead until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the edges of the bowl.  You may need to add a little bit of extra flour if the dough seems too sticky.  However, keep in mind that this dough will be stickier than bread dough as it is meant to be very soft.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside until doubled (approximately 1 hour).  During this time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Once the dough has doubled, uncover it and punch it down.  Lightly flour the surface of your counter.  Divide the dough into twelve equal parts, placing each piece on the floured surface.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap to keep it from forming a dry crust.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of water and 1/3 cup of baking soda.  Take one of your pieces of dough and roll it between your hands until you have a very long and skinny "snake".  This part was fun and reminded me of playing with play dough when I was little :).  The longer and skinnier you make the snake, the thinner and more pretzel-like your pretzel will come out.  I actually made mine a little too thick.  Keep in mind that the dough is going to rise again while its baking.  

Take your snake and fold it in half, then dip it in the baking soda water.  Transfer the snake onto a greased cookie sheet and form it into a pretzel.  The baking soda water is going to make the dough brown and crispy and give it the characteristic pretzel "taste".

Continue until your baking sheet is full.  I was only able to do 4-6 at a time, depending on the size of the cookie sheet.  Pop your the pretzels into the oven for 7-8 minutes.  If your pretzels come out fat like mine, you might need a little extra time for the centers to cook through.  You DO NOT want to overcook them or they will not be soft.

Immediately brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with rock salt or cinnamon and sugar.  

Seriously try not to eat them all in one sitting!! FYI: They reheat fabulously if you pop them into the microwave for 20 seconds...almost as good as the first time around.

This recipe would be fun to do with children as they would LOVE rolling out the "snakes"!

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