Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30-Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

Pat's birthday was last month and I promised him I'd make him anything his heart desired.  I made a cake for him a week or so after the big day - that post is coming - but the day of, his request was pretzels.  Not surprising, since he also begged for them at the beach (that's when I made the soft pretzel bites).  Like me, Pat is a big time soft pretzel fan.  I had recently pinned a recipe for 30-minute homemade soft pretzels, and I was intrigued by the idea of 30-minute yeast dough.

As usual, it did take me longer than the 30 promised minutes, but I added the extra step of boiling the pretzels.  The blog I got the recipe from said it was optional, but knowing how important the boiling step is to both pretzels and bagels, I insisted on doing it.  It was still quicker than the regular process of making pretzels, though.

The end result was a delightful soft pretzel, all of which were devoured immediately.  I didn't notice much of a difference between these and the ones that rise for hours - maybe a little denser but not that noticeable.  I definitely need to buy myself some pretzel salt; I use kosher or sea salt but it kind of disappears after baking.  Nevertheless, these were puffier and softer than I'd expected for pretzels that don't take any extra rising time!  Definitely a good recipe to keep in mind when you're craving pretzels but don't feel like spending all day on them!


30-minute homemade soft pretzels
from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 3/4 - 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for the counter surface to knead
1 large egg, beaten
course sea salt for sprinkling


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.  Set aside.

2) Dissolve yeast in warm water,  Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute.  Some clusters of yeast will remain.  Add salt and sugar; stir until fairly combined.  Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time.  Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick.  Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  If it is sticky, add up to 1/2 cup more.  Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.

3) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball.  With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections.  This measurement does not have to be exact - use as much or as little dough for each pretzel as you wish; the size of the pretzel is completely up to you.

4) Roll the dough into a rope with an even diameter.  This measurement will depend on how large you want the pretzels.  Once you have your long rope, take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle.  Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.

5) The fifth step is "optional" but not in my eyes!  Boil 9 cups of water with 2/3 cup baking soda.  Dunk the pretzels one by one into the mixture for 30 seconds.

6) In a small bowl, beat the egg and pour into a shallow bowl or pie dish.  Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (both sides).  Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.

7) Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees (mine took longer).  Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops.  Watch closely to avoid burning.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days,but they will lost their softness.  They do freeze well.
Enjoying her pretzel!

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