How was your 4th of July? Ours was fun. We had a BBQ which ended up going long into the evening and involved a lot of debauchery and a record consumption of Fireball shots (Not by me. Ew.) If I had to gauge the amount of fun our party was by how sticky our dining room floor was the next day, I’d say it was suuuuper fun.
At the BBQ we served grilled sausages with sautéed peppers and onions, the world’s largest watermelon, and my go-to Caesar salad. The night before I also whipped up two batches of homemade soft pretzels (because sausages + soft pretzels — so American, right? Yah.) The pretzels were such a hit that I figured I should share the recipe with y’all, so you too can be the talk of the town at your next party.
Soft pretzels aren’t particularly difficult to make, just kind of time consuming. And if you cheat a little and use a bread maker to make the dough (like me), it’s even easier.
makes 16 pretzels
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (80-90°F)
- 1 tbsp. salt (plus additional for sprinkling)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
- Alkaline solution: 5 cups water + 1/3 cup baking soda
- Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a splash of water or milk
- Using a bread maker: To make the dough, place all ingredients (omitting the alkaline solution and egg wash) into your bread maker in the order listed above and use the dough setting.
- Not using a bread maker: Combine water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture until well combined and the dough comes together. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Oil a clean bowl with vegetable or olive oil and place dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 50-55 min, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once your dough is ready, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (cut into fourths, then cut each fourth into fourths again). Quickly roll each piece into a long rope and twist it into a pretzel shape. *Try to handle the dough as little as possible — the longer you mess with it, the tougher your pretzels will be.
- Once you have 16 pretzels formed, place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Make your alkaline solution by combining 5 cups of water with 1/3 cup baking soda in a wide saucepan, then bring to a boil (I used my Le Creuset braiser for this). Once boiling, boil each pretzel for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through (you can do this in batches rather than going one at a time). Place onto a wire rack to drain.
- Once drained, return pretzels to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt (I recommend using pretzel salt or sea salt for this — I used Maldon flake salt).
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- To revive pretzels the next day, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with a tad more salt, and reheat in the oven for 3-5 minutes.