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Scrumptious Pretzels Recipe

Scrumptious Pretzels Recipe

With their fresh-baked aroma, chewy texture, and salted tops, soft pretzels make a satisfying snack for kids and adults alike. This month's recipe lets you whip up a batch that's right on par with any street or fair vendor's. For variety, try one of our flavored pretzels - cinnamon sugar or pizza.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Coarse or kosher salt (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

1. Pour the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on the yeast. Wait 5 minutes, then stir in the brown sugar, the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 100 strokes.

Scrumptious Pretzels - Step 2

2. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a semifirm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 7 to 8 minutes, dusting the surface with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around to coat its entire surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place until the dough is nearly doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a large, heavy, shiny (not dark) baking sheet with vegetable shortening.

4. Turn the dough out onto a flour-dusted surface and knead for 1 minute. Divide the dough in half, placing half back in the bowl and re-covering it with plastic wrap.

5. Divide the other half of the dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and let them rest for 5 minutes on a flour-dusted surface. Then roll each ball under your palms and outstretched fingers until it's about 3 feet long and 1/2 inch thick.

Scrumptious Pretzels - Step 6

6. Heat the oven to 450°. Shape the ropes of dough by making a circle and twisting the ends.

Scrumptious Pretzels - Step 7

7. Fold the ends back over the circle and pinch the dough. After you finish shaping the pretzels, place them on the baking sheet, leaving as much space between them as possible.

Scrumptious Pretzels - Step 8

8. Stir the hot water and sugar together in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the water mixture over the pretzels. Top them with a bit of coarse salt, if desired. (For other topping suggestions, see our tips below.) Set the pretzels aside for 10 minutes.

Scrumptious Pretzels - Step 9

9. Bake the pretzels on the center oven rack until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking. Start shaping the other half of the dough into 3 more pretzels.

10. Place a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil under a wire rack and transfer the baked pretzels to the rack. Using a pastry brush, apply melted butter liberally over the pretzels; this makes them soft and flavorful. Let the pretzels cool briefly, but enjoy them while they're warm. Makes 6 pretzels.

TASTY TIPS:

For an extra flavorful twist, you can add zip to your pretzels with a variety of toppings. Here are two variations we find particularly appealing.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: As soon as you brush your pretzels with the water mixture (step 8), give them a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. After baking, brush the pretzels with butter and sprinkle on more cinnamon sugar.

Pizza Pretzels: After brushing with the water mixture (step 8), brush a tablespoon of store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto on each pretzel. Once out of the oven, brush them with melted butter or olive oil and, while they're still warm, shake on Parmesan cheese.

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