Soft and Buttery Pretzels

Pretzels are one thing I have never really tried making before and to be honest apart from the hard crisp like ones you get in a packet, I have never tried a fresh pretzel! That is. . . until now!

I looked online for recipes to get the general consensus of what is needed to come up with the perfect pretzel. I played around with a few different recipes, changed the boiling and baking time countless times and I now think I have got the perfect one.

With pretzels you need to boil them in water with bicarbonate of soda added, for a very short time. We are talking around 30 second here. This stage is so important but also easy to mess up. Remember we are just creating a skin on the pretzels at this stage and are NOT cooking them. If you leave them in for too long, they will go slimy and lose their shape.

If you try these, please do let me know how they turn out for you!

Rhia x

1 package active dry yeast (I used hovis) 1 cup warm water  2 Tablespoons softened butter 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I used light brown soft sugar) ¾ teaspoon salt 2 & ¾ cups plain flour (may not need all of it)
To boil and finish
4 cups water ¼ cup baking soda Coarse sea salt for sprinkling ¼ cup melted butter
Place the warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the top of the water with the yeast packet. Let it dissolve for about 2 minutes. Once dissolved, add in the softened butter, brown sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed until a sticky dough comes together and dough is smooth. Stir in any remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and when touched with a finger, does not stick. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. (I live in the basement and it’s quite cold, so I put my tumble dryer on for 2-3 minutes and then close the door and leave it to prove in there)  Preheat oven to 180 degrees fam assisted. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. (Grease whatever you use, even if it is parchment paper, you’ll be glad you did when it comes to boiling them)  Knock the dough back (punch it down a couple times to break up any air pockets). Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. The best way to do this is to cut in half with a pizza cutter, then cut each half into fourths. Using your palms and the heels of your hands, roll each piece into a 12-15″ long rope on a clean work surface – do NOT flour your work surface, as this will prevent the stretch of your dough. Shape the rope into a circle with about 2-3″ inch of each end overlapping (think the shape of a breast cancer awareness ribbon). Twist the ends where they overlap, then flip the twisted ends over the circle, pinching the ends into the circle to form a pretzel shape. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add in the baking soda; mixture will bubble violently for a minute. Drop a pretzel into the boiling water using a slotted spatula. Let boil for 30 seconds, then gently remove with the spatula, allowing excess water to drip off. Place on the greased baking sheets and shape back to pretzel shape if needed. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if using. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Bake the pretzels for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking, or until golden brown on top. Brush with melted butter while still hot. Serve warm or room temperature!