I like having staple recipes that I can turn to over and over again to fit a variety of eating needs. Soft, chewy pretzels are one of those staples. Quick lunch option for kids? Check. Late night movie snack? Check. Friends coming over for board games? Check.
Make a batch of these pretzels ahead of time, they freeze well, like biscuits (just let them cool completely, then stick in a zip-top bag). Reheat in a brown paper bag at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes and serve with tangy mustard or cheese sauce.
Soft, Chewy Pretzels
Makes 8 large pretzels or 16 smaller pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, to coat bowl
3 quarts water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg (mixed with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash)
Course sea salt
1. Combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter in a bowl and mix until combined (if using a stand mixer, use a dough hook). Let sit for five minutes.
2. Add the salt and flour to the mixture and mix until combined. Continue to mix/knead in the bowl until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough appears to wet, add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
3. Coat a large bowl with vegetable oil; add the dough and turn to coat. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size (about one hour).
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope. To shape into pretzels, take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up.
6. Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, two at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the water with a spoon. Remove with a large, flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place pretzels on a baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between each pretzel, and brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Remove pretzels from baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.