Soft pretzels aren't at all common in Australia. Here when someone says pretzels you immediately think of the the hard and crunchy kind you can buy in bags like chips.
Hubby had soft pretzels recently at a work morning tea and was so keen for me to make some he found a recipe, printed it out and then wouldn't shut up about them! So late Sunday afternoon we decided to bake them together.
They were surprisingly easy to make. A simple dough made with butter is rested then shaped, boiled and baked. We definitely don't have the shaping technique down but that will improve with practice. We will be making these again!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe converted from the Food Network
1 1/2 cups water, heated to 44 degrees Celsius (I realise you don't need to activate instant dry yeast as you do with active dry yeast but we used warm water just to keep the same process as the original recipe)
1 tbs sugar
1 ts salt
2 ts instant dry yeast
4 1/2 cups plain flour
60g butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup bicarb soda
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbs water
vegetable oil for greasing pan
Into the bowl of a stand mixer place the flour, butter, warm water, sugar, salt and yeast. Using the dough hook attachment mix on low speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulling cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl so you can grease the bowl with vegetable oil then return the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in a warm place for approx 1hr or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and brush them lightly with oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the bicarb soda to a boil in a large saucepan.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a greased surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 60cm long rope. Male a U-shape with the dough, then cross them over each other and press the ends onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel (?). Place onto the greased and lined baking tray and repeat.
Place the pretzels one by one into the boiling water mixture, for 30 seconds only. Remove with a large flat spatula and return to the baking tray. Brush each one with the egg wash mixture then sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake until dark golden brown, approx 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.