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August 13, 2011

Almost Famous Soft Pretzels

I have been wanting to make soft pretzels since forever, and finally did so the other day. I also made a jalapeño cheese sauce to go with it. The cheese sauce didn't turn out quite right, it was too stringy, but it was also pretty good. I'm a big fan of those nacho cheese-like spicy dips that you can get with the pretzels at the mall, and so I'll have to come up with a way to make that at home to go with these pretzels. But, the pretzels themselves turned out amazing! They were almost like homemade rolls, since they didn't really hold their pretzel shape in the oven. I would make one, set it down on the rack and go to make another, and the one I had made previously was still rising from the yeast. 
Dough before the rise

Dough after the rise!

Here's the recipe adapted from Food Network.

Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 min | Cooking Time: 30 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 6 pretzels

1 cup Milk
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
3 Tbsp Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flourplus more for kneading
Tbsp Unsalted Butterplus more for greasing
1 tsp Fine Salt
 cup Baking Soda
2 Tbsp Coarse Salt

1. Make the pretzels: Warm the milk in a saucepan until it's about 110 degrees; pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Dice 2 tablespoons butter and soften; stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes.) Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.

3. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Melt the other 3 Tbsp. of butter, and drizzle over the pretzels, after they come out of the oven. 

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