Well, I figured that -having only posted two recipes this month- I was due to post another one. This recipe (adapted from CHOW) is basically about Easter. Why? The story I heard was that, during the Lenten season, monks made pretzels hard and unpleasant to eat so that fasting would be easier (obviously the recipes have changed). The three loops in the pretzels represent the Holy Trinity. Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly get the third loop in. :) Anyway, these prezels were exactly what a soft pretzel should be: soft, salty, and presentable.
Soft Pretzels Recipe:
1 cup warm water (110°F)
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus some for sprinkling
10 cups water
2 tbsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2. Run hot water over a small bowl for about thirty seconds or until warm. Pour the warm water into the bowl and sprinkle iot with yeast. Let it sit until the yeast has dissolved 5-10 minutes.
3. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, place the flour, sugar, and salt and stir using the paddle attechment. Once the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the flour mixture. Mix on the lowest mixing setting until the dough just comes together, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook attechment. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
4. Place the dough in the prepared oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a towl and let the dough rest in the preheated oven until it doubles in size, about 40 minutes. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease the paper.
5. Once the dough has risen, punch it down. Using a knife, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Grease a peice of plastic wrap and cover the dough balls with it while you shape the pretzels in the next step.
6. Working with one piece at a time, roll a ball of dough into a 16 inch rope.
Hold one end of the rope in each hand and cross the two ends. Cross them again to form a twist. Lay the twisted end over the opposite side of the rope and press gently to adhere. Transfer the pretzel to the baking sheet. Repeat the same steps with the remaining dough pieces, fitting 8 pretzels per baking sheet.
7. Let the pretzels rise in the oven again until almost double in size, about 20 minutes.
After the pretzels are done rising, remove them from the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees (be sure to arrange a rack in the middle). Bring the water and butter to a boil in a pot over high heat and set two wire racks nearby (set a towel or a large bowl underneath the racks to catch the hot water; also, the butter will make the water look brown after a while. Don’t fret, it won’t burn:).
8. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water (the water will foam up big time) and place two pretzels in the water. Boil for one minute before using a fork or a spatula to flip them; boil the pretzels for one more minute. Remove them from the water and place on one of the wire racks. Sprinkle them with salt and repeat with the remaining pretzels.
9. Bake the pretzels one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through the baking time, until they are a deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool.
10. Happy Lent and Happy Eater! er, I mean… Easter!
If some pretzels are golden brown and others are not, remove the golden-brown ones and allow them to cool while the others continue to bake.