The kids were just asking about making pretzels the other day so when I saw this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Café I knew today, a snow day here in Texas would be the perfect day to get some made! The recipe makes about 2 dozen (I managed to get 32 out of it) but I made it twice (I didn’t double it, just made one batch of dough then made a second batch) so there’d be plenty of the chewy snacks to last. Very easy and only a little ttime-consuming I used a cake frosting spreader to cut the dough directly on the buttered counter, without slicing the counter itself. I did not have to double the warm water/baking soda solution or the butter for topping; there was plenty for all the batches of pretzels. I changed very little about this recipe because, frankly, bread scares me and I didn’t want to mess it up!
- 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I used one envelope Fleishmann’s ActiveDry Yeast)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- Coarse salt (optional)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
1. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.
2. Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface (I rubbed a tablespoon of butter around where I was going to lay the dough), and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.
Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.