Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzels.

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Seriously: these are super easy to make, and fun — even when you’re in a hurry; even when you’ve got three kids underfoot.  This is a basic bread dough, really. What makes a pretzel a pretzel is the key step of boiling them in baking soda water, so don’t skip it.

Soft Pretzels

  • 2 packets active dry yeast (0.5 oz. total)
  • 2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • sea salt

Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water until bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Beat together egg, butter, salt and sugar.  Add in 2 cups flour and yeast/water solution and blend well.  Gradually add in  remaining 4 1/2 cups flour, switching from spoon to hands for mixing when necessary.  Knead for 5-10 minutes or until sort of rubbery and flexible: bread dough tells you when it’s ready.  Allow to rise 1 hour in large bowl covered with a dishcloth.

When dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide into 16 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a 20″ rope and twist into pretzel shape.  Boil 6 cups water with 1/2 cup baking soda added in.  Toss each finished pretzel into boiling water until it rises to the surface, <5 minutes.  Remove each pretzel and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake pretzels 4 at a time on oiled baking sheet on top rack of oven, or various bits will burn, for 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned.  Transfer to rack for cooling. Makes 16 awesomely delicious soft pretzels.

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