Soft pretzels are a treat many people enjoy when out shopping or attending a carnival or circus. The chewy crust coupled with the salty and buttery taste help to make the pretzels a favorite quick snack. But did you know that it is possible to make oversized German pretzels at home? Here is a simple recipe using ingredients found in just about every kitchen.
In order to prepare for making these gourmet pretzels, assemble your ingredients. You will need unsifted flour, some coarse salt and a small amount of sugar. Butter, an egg yolk, and some water are also part of this basic recipe.
For a simple batch, combine a cup (240 ml)of flour, a couple tablespoons (30 ml)of granulated sugar, a single teaspoon (5 ml)of the coarse salt, and a cake of dry yeast. Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly and set the mixing bowl aside for a moment.
Heat one cup (240 ml)of water until the liquid is roughly 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius). Stir in the butter until it is completely blended with the water. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, stirring as you go. Use a mixer to beat the ingredients together for a couple of minutes, then add another half cup (120 ml)of flour and beat for another two minutes. If the mixture still seems thin, incrementally add more flour until you produce a soft dough.
The next step in producing soft pretzels involves kneading the dough. After flouring a board with flour, transfer your pretzel dough to the board and begin to knead. Continue to work the dough for roughly five minutes, then turn into a greased bowl. Flip the dough so that all sides are coated with the grease. Cover the top of the bowl with cheesecloth and allow the dough to rise for a half-hour to forty-five minutes.
After the dough has risen, it is time to begin forming the soft pretzels. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean cutting board. Divide the mixture into twelve equal sections. Gently roll each section into a rope that is roughly the same length as the distance from the middle finger to the elbow. On a greased baking sheet arrange each rope into the shape of a pretzel. Once all the pretzels are arranged on the baking sheet, cover and allow them to set for roughly five minutes.
As a final touch to the soft pretzels, brush them with a mixture of egg yolk and a small amount of water. Sprinkle coarse salt over the surface of each of the pretzels, then bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190° Celsius) for fifteen to twenty minutes. After removing the sheet of pretzels from the oven, place each pretzel on a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature.
While soft pretzels do take a little time to make, they are a great treat to prepare on a rainy weekend afternoon. In order to add some variety to the basic recipe, you can make a simple dipping sauce using any combination of sweet and salty ingredients you like.