Soft Pretzels

>> Friday, January 11, 2013

My youngest daughter requested I make some homemade soft pretzels the other day. I had a good recipe a while back but it's been so long since I've made them I have no idea where it is. So I searched the Internet and found this one (EDIT: link removed due to being a dead link). I figured I'd post the recipe here since beer and pretzels pretty much go hand in hand...and so I don't lose it again. The original calls for malt syrup. I keep some DME around for yeast starters so I substituted some in place of the syrup. Here's how I made it:

Makes 12 soft pretzels

12 oz water
0.25 t honey
0.25 oz dried bread yeast
1/2 stick of butter, melted
2.25 t Kosher salt
1# 6 oz. all purpose flour

Egg wash
Kosher Salt for finishing pretzels

Make sure the water is the right temp...I usually shoot for about 85F. Dissolve honey and DME in the water then add the yeast. Also, try to give it about at least a 10-15 minute head start before you add it to the mixer. Melt your butter. Add remaining ingredients (except egg wash and salt for finishing) to your mixer. With a dough hook attachment, mix on medium low for 8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and spray the top with a light coating of vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray to keep it from forming a skin. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and leave it to rise until it doubles in size (usually 1-2 hours depending on yeast health and kitchen temps).

After it's doubled in size, gently press out the CO2 and divide the dough into 3 oz portions (another great use for your digital hop scale). Roll the portions into 18-24 inch long ropes and form them into your pretzel shape. Place them on a greased cookie sheet then put them in the freezer until they're at least partially frozen. When I made mine I left them in the freezer overnight.

When you're ready to cook up your pretzels, start by pre-heating your oven to 400F. Remove the pretzels from the freezer and bring 10 cups of water to a low boil along with 1/2 cup baking soda. Adding three pretzels at a time, poach them in the boiling solution for 1 minute then return them to the cookie sheets.

Next mix up an egg wash by whisking together one egg and 1 teaspoon of water. Use two fingers to gently and evenly coat the pretzels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with Kosher salt then bake in the oven until golden brown (about 15 minutes) and enjoy.

We served these along with a beer cheese fondue that my wife made on Christmas day. Note: These tend to disappear quick, so be prepared to mix up a second batch!