There are not many places you can get a fresh pretzel, I know it and you know it.
A fairground, maybe a sports event, or a random kiosk at the mall. Either way!! You can make them at home, just like we should be doing since we’re all coping with social distancing by becoming master bakers, right? Pretzel dough is similar to pizza dough — it could be really stretchy and work with you perfectly, but it can also be finnicky and not stretch enough. I recommend patience with the dough in this recipe and if all else fails, making pretzel bites is an easy Plan B.
- 4 cups flour all purpose
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons yeast
- 1 tsp of salt
- 3 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp of water
Baking Soda Bath
- 6 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of baking soda
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast and sugar with a whisk.
Next, add the softened butter, the milk and water and combine once again.
The dough should be soft and supple , but slightly sticky. It also shouldn’t be too dry. You may need to adjust the amount of water or flour you use depending on where you live — which I had to do by adding about another tablespoon of water and another tablespoon of flour. Knead for about 5 minutes on a low level.
Remove the dough from the hook and let it rise in the bowl. Put saran wrap over the bowl to capture in moisture, cover with a kitchen towel, and put near a warm place in your kitchen such as by a window in the sunlight. Let it rise until it doubles in size, about 3 hours.
One the dough has risen, place a large pan or pot on your stovetop and add 6 cups of water and a 1/4 cup of baking soda. Bring to a rolling simmer. This “Baking Soda Bath” is what gives that pretzel-y flavour and chew to the dough and made such a difference!
While you wait for the baking soda bath to simmer, begin to make your pretzels. Now, I’ve seen this done many times on food shows or YouTube so I just went for it, but I’m also going to place this video here in case you need a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCtGEkl6Ljs .
I found that the dough was not as supple as it looks within the videos, but that’s okay people, we are not running a pretzel shop so don’t be too hard on yourself!!!
Cut the dough into thirds, and begin working with one section at a time. Roll out the dough as if you were trying to create a long, skinny rope. This takes some time and I will say that I found holding the two ends of the dough and running the dough back and forth over a flat surface, using wrist action more than anything, helped to stretch it out. Form the pretzels and put on a baking sheet.
YOU CAN ALSO MAKE PRETZEL BITES!!! (I made a couple because my last bit of dough was being difficult) .
When your baking soda bath is ready, it’s time to dunk the pretzels 2 at a time into the bath for no longer than 40 seconds!!! otherwise they will taste metallic. I used a spatula for easy handling and removal from the bath, and also to splash some water on the tops because they will float and not totally submerge. Remove from the bath and place again on the baking tray. The dough will look slightly puffy and proofed (see above photo) and that’s a great sign!
Brush with the egg wash and top with flaky salt and sesame seeds — they sell both at Bulk Barn and they make the pretzels look 1) up to par, 2) add the saltiness that you want from a pretzel.
Bake for 15-18 minutes — I checked around 16mins and they were done.
Et voila! Your dip, is your decision folks. I hope you enjoy these pretzels, they are to die for!
Peace and good eats,