One weekend Brent sent me an email with the subject line: “To Try.” The only thing in the body of the email was a link to Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe.
Clearly, I tried the recipe and it was delicious and pretty easy. And a reason for you to use the 90 pound stand mixer you likely got for your wedding, or got yourself as a gift for going to so many weddings.
Here’s what to do!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
serves 8 // recipe from Food Network/Alton Brown
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4.5 cups all-purpose flour (22oz if you measure it out on your kitchen scale)
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. In your barely used stand mixer, combine the 1.5 cups warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. (If you decide to use instant yeast like I did, you can skip the 5 minute wait time)
2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with some vegetable oil spray (like Pam). Set aside.
5. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
6. The semi-hard part! Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. I watched this video many times to try to copy Alton’s style. http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/altons-homemade-soft-pretzels-0170183.embed.html
7. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
8. Get a large pot and bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil.
9. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. I let these dry on a cookie rack before returning them.
10. Once you have the pretzels on the parchment paper-lined pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the kosher salt (unless you have pretzel salt!).
11. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. I like to rotate the pan half way through cooking. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Not so hard and very delicious. I recently went to lunch with some co-workers and we ordered one pretzel for the table. It was not as tasty and it was $6. BOO!
So maybe you should e-mail this to your self with the subject line “to try” and make this for seven of your favorite co-workers.