My family is big into Sam’s Club.
When we were kids my brothers and I could drink a gallon of milk a day, and once we learned how to use the oven, we burned (usually figuratively, sometimes literally) through frozen pizzas at an alarming rate. One of my favorite things from the jumbo-sized retailer were microwaveable soft pretzels. Except they weren’t actually very good– they were hard and flavorless and probably packed with preservatives. But I loved the idea of a soft pretzel– a little salty, warm and fluffy… and today, I made them myself. Forget the giant box in the freezer section. These are fun to make and not as hard as you’d think! The recipe is a halved variation on this one.
1 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (maybe plus a little more. I added a few more teaspoons but I often do.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
1 T baking soda
some cornmeal to dust the baking sheet
3 cups of water, plus 1 teaspoon
Proof the yeast in the water with the sugar added. Combine the flours and salt, then pour in the dissolved yeast and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, maybe 5 minutes or so. The dough at this point should be sticky, but not stuck to your hands… add flour as necessary. Let rise one hour, covered, in a warm place.
Divide the dough into six balls. Roll each ball into a long, thin rope about a 15-18 inches long. Form a circle, leaving a few
inches on each end. Twist the ends once and then bring them to the inside of the circle in a pretzel shape. (Although you could put them in any shape you please, really. Pretzel bread, circles, hearts… follow your bliss.) Pinch the ends into the circle. Let rest while you boil 3 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda added.
Preheat oven to 425. Reduce heat on water to medium. Drop pretzels, one by one, into simmering water. Flip after fifteen seconds (they should be floating) and then drain on a plate. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Once drained, place pretzels on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Mix one egg with one teaspoon of water and lightly brush pretzels with egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 12 minutes until golden and fabulous.
Makes six pretzels… four if you immediately eat two of them. Enjoy!