Soft pretzels are a frequent special request in our home and there’s a good reason: they are soooo delicious! We serve them with different seasonings and with different dips for a family movie night treat and I don’t think we’ve had a night yet with leftovers! I like recipes that give you lots of room to experiment and this one is no exception, as long as you make the dough properly, you can switch out seasonings as often as you like, from savory to sweet. I’ll explain how to do that a little further down in this post. Here’s my basic recipe (it’ll make about 7 medium-sized pretzels):
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tblsp. Dry yeast
1 tblsp. sugar
3-3 1/2 cups flour, give or take
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter, plus another 1/4 cup set aside to be melted later
Hot Water and baking soda
1 egg beaten in a small bowl
Sea salt or pretzel salt
1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Wait for the yeast to activate and become bubbly.
2. Add 3 cups of flour, salt and melted butter. If you are using a stand mixer, attach the kneading hook and mix until the dough is combined and pulling away from the sides. If you’re not, knead the dough until soft and elastic. Add extra flour if necessary so that the dough is not too sticky.
3. Turn the out the dough from the mixer bowl onto the counter and knead for just a few minutes, form into a ball. Let it rest on the counter while you put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the mixing bowl.
4. Return the dough to the bowl and turn a few times to coat with oil. Cover with press n seal and wait till the dough doubles in size.
If you don’t know how to shape your pretzel dough, take a look at this video:
5. Once the dough doubles, preheat your oven to 450 degrees, unwrap, and form your pretzels, placing them on a prepared baking sheet. (I use silpat liners, you could lightly spray your sheet with non stick spray too)
6. Take about 2 cups of hot water and pour in a shallow pan with about 2 tblsp of baking soda. Stir to dissolve.
7. Dip each pretzel in the solution and return to baking sheet.
8. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt and desired seasonings. (I’ve sprinkled shredded cheese on them, Parmesan, garlic seasoning, salt and pepper, and taco seasoning for savory pretzels before. You can also omit the salt and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on them for a sweet variety.)
9.Bake in the oven till golden brown.
10. Remove from oven and lightly brush with melted butter (you can also dip your sweet pretzels in butter, and then dip them in a sugar/cinnamon combo to make them super sweet like the pretzels stores sell at the mall) .
11.Serve with dips of choice. Some popular dips are : pizza sauce (winner with the kiddos); nacho cheese; cream cheese (can add chopped chives to it too!); mustard (reg. and honey); vanilla icing (for the cinnamon variety); and chocolate sauce (for the plain sugared variety)
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