Oh Wow. It is 4:00am and I am updating my blog. You see I awoke at 3:30am in the middle of the night with a craving for a midnight snack. And after 30 minutes of tossing, I could not get these soft pretzels out of my mind. I plan on taking them into work later today but I *had* to try one first.
Now, the omnivore in the house is very honest with me when it comes to my cooking. And both you and I ought to appreciate this honesty.
“Some of your pretzels look like dog-poop,” said the honest-omnivore-husband as I was shaping these soft pretzels. Hmph. Now I’ve got two things to say about that:
(Actually, each pretzel requires quite a bit of dough to form the shape, so I didn’t really have extras to go around the Branny-household. All pretzels but the obligate taste-tester were destined for work.)
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt 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. Add the flour 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. Place dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow bowl to sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 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. When you dump in the baking soda, beware of foamy overflow!
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.
*And if you aren’t eating these babies the day you bake them, I highly recommend reheating each pretzel in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes.