Homemade Soft Pretzels
First of all, I have to thank Crystal over at Spoiled Much for posting this recipe a while back. She wasn't sure where it came from, so I'll have to thank whoever she got it from anonymously. I initially thought this looked rather intimidating, but after trying it out, it is actually quite simple. The best part is, you can freeze these pretzels and prepare them the same way you would a store-bought frozen pretzel. Although, once you taste them, you'll definitely want to eat them all. My pretzels turned out thicker and darker than Crystal's. I didn't roll them thin enough initially, and I didn't wait long enough for them to rise after boiling. Oh well, they were still delicious! I actually like them thick and dark, just like I like my... steaks. Gotcha.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water for dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
9 1/2 cups warm water for boiling
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
PREP a large mixing bowl by greasing it and then set it aside.
DISSOLVE the yeast, sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water in a large mixing bowl.
STIR in flour and work with hands until soft dough forms. Place dough on on a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
PLACE dough in the greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface.
COVER bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour or double in size.
BRING 9 1/2 cups of water and baking soda to a boil in a large sauce pan (I used a stock pot, and the higher sides seemed to help eliminate some of the mess).
PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees F.
REMOVE dough from bowl after it has doubled in size, and cut into 12 equal pieces.
ROLL each piece pencil thin or thinner (I like mine thick, so I did mine about the size of a magic marker. Yields will vary with the size of the pretzel).
TWIST into a pretzel shape. If you find that the dough does not stick to itself at the joints, you may want to squeeze the joints together a bit. This will help keep the pretzel shape through the boiling process.
DIP into the baking soda solution for 30 seconds.
PLACE onto parchment covered baking sheets, adding desired topping (see OTHER OPTIONS below).
LET RISE for 15 to 20 minutes (I inadvertently skipped this step. I would have ended up with giant pretzels. If you roll them thick, you can skip it. If you roll them pencil thin, then wait.)
BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
BRUSH with melted butter. ENJOY!
Add sliced jalepenos to the dough as you're kneading.
Top with your favorite cheese.
Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Add minced apple while kneading, and top with cinnamon and sugar.
REHEATING FROZEN PRETZELS:
Place frozen pretzel in a moist paper towel. Heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.