The Ever Requested Pretzel

Hot pretzels straight from the oven! In our house there are few things better than one of these beauties paired with a cold root beer. I kid you not, my children know when I have made these pretzels because they say they smell them in the air on the short walk home from school. These delicious German soft pretzels are requested for playdates with friends, lazy Saturday afternoons, and yes they have even beat out dessert!

I have an old school terribly weathered copy of Sunset’s Cook Book of Breads first published in 1963. The hairstyle of the models in its pages will be enough to keep you reading! My copy isn’t the right color anymore but it is still the tried and trusted bread book in our house and this recipe is a crowd winner. The recipe reads as follows:

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups flour

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoon sugar

6 cups water with 6 Tablespoons soda

Coarse salt

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the oil, and sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes to make a smooth batter. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour (about 1 cup) to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny (about 5 minutes), adding flour as aneeded to prevent sticking. Turn dough over in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down, turn out onto floured board, and divide into 12 pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball by gently kneading. Then roll each into a smooth rope about 18 inches long and twist into a pretzel shape. Place pretzels, slightly apart on a greased baking sheet, tucking ends underneath. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy (about 25 minutes).

In a 3-quart stainless steel pan, bring water-soda mixture to boiling; adjust heat to keep water boiling gently. With a slotted spatulat, lower 1 pretzel at a time into pan. Let simmer for 10 seconds on each side, then lift from water, drain briefly, and place on a greased baking sheet. Let dry briefly, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Let stand, uncovered, until all have been simmered.

Bake in a 425F oven for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 dozen.

My husband calls this particular bread cookbook the ‘Bread Bible’ because its recipes are simple and turn out well. This recipe in particular while it sounds menacing is quite simple and you will find the rhythm of doing these pretzels in batches. Pretzels are kid friendly to make too and kids can be involved in rolling out the dough and twisting the dough into a pretzel shape. I have been known to give them the dough and come back a little later to boil them. My kids enjoy ownership of a part of the process.

Make these today and wow your family and friends! Enjoy!

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