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I never really liked bread as a child. I mean, I enjoyed things with bread in them, but was never one to savor pizza crust or dinner rolls. And this definitely continued into high school. Bread just wasn’t my thing. I much preferred leaving room for dessert (go figure).
Being a girl and all I think I’m predisposed to enjoying carbs. So who’s to say why, except for in the last 5 years I’ve started to looooove bread. Baguettes dipped in olive oil & salt, sticky buns of all sorts, and savory biddies like cheesy bread with fresh herbs (OK after typing that I think I need to go back to the kitchen and make a batch of cheesy bread).
So naturally when my stepsister, Kelsey, showed me a recipe for soft pretzels, I was alllll over it. I got to work this morning having no prior experience with pretzel-making. With the help of my beloved KitchenAid, these pretzels were a breeze. They’re crisp on the outside, and so perfectly doughy on the inside. They’re foolproof!
It’s just going to be really difficult to not eat too many of these.
Combine the water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Mix together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.