Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels
September 09, 2016
"Soft and chewy pretzels, by King Arthur Flour. NOTE: these are LARGE pretzels!!! There are instructions at the end for making smaller pretzel "bites". Time does not include resting time."
- Note: Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.
- FOR TOPPING
- Serving Size: 1 (108.8 g)
- Calories 203.6
- Total Fat - 5.6 g
- Saturated Fat - 3.3 g
- Cholesterol - 11.6 mg
- Sodium - 1216.4 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 33 g
- Dietary Fiber - 1.4 g
- Sugars - 2.5 g
- Protein - 4.6 g
- Calcium - 11.9 mg
- Iron - 0.6 mg
- Vitamin C - 0 mg
- Thiamin - 0.4 mg
TO MAKE DOUGH BY HAND, OR WITH A MIXER
Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
TO MAKE DOUGH WITH A BREAD MACHINE
Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.
TO MAKE DOUGH WITH FOOD PROCESSOR
Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper (or spray with vegetable oil).
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour the baking soda/water into a 9" square pan.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28-30 inches) and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 1-2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. This baking soda "bath" will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 9-10 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
VARIATION 1: To make savory pretzel bites: Roll the eight pieces of dough into 10" ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into 6 to 10 equal pieces. Dip the pieces into the baking soda solution, place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt. Bake in a 400°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and roll the bites in melted butter; about 6 tablespoons should do it.
VARIATION #2: To make sweet pretzel bites: Roll the eight pieces of dough into 10" ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into 6 to 10 equal pieces. Dip the pieces into the baking soda solution, place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and top with pearl sugar, if desired. Bake in a 400°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven; if they haven't been topped with pearl sugar, roll the bites in melted butter (about 6 tablespoons should do it). Then shake in a paper bag with 6 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar.
Tips & Variations
No special items needed.