We decided last week that we would take advantage of a learning opportunity here at work. So, on a slow day, we put my good friend Sarah to work. Sarah worked at the pretzel place in the mall when she was in high school. She can flip long ropes into a pretzel twist in two shakes. It’s amazing to watch her. She knows her pretzels!
We used Alton Brown’s Homemade Soft Pretzels recipe, but tweaked it a bit. Sarah says she doesn’t really like boiling the dough in the baking soda water, but prefers to dip them briefly and set them on the tray.
We also made two very good dipping sauces. The first was a Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce from Seriouseats.com. It came together quickly and would have been perfect for one of those little dipper crock pots. When making this recipe, it is important to use good quality cheese. The cheap stuff will just get grainy. The second dipping sauce was a Honey Mustard Sauce from AllRecipes.com. This recipe was intended to be a salad dressing, but is the perfect consistency for dipping soft pretzels, chicken nuggets, etc. Tangy and sweet!
I hope you get to make these pretzels soon! They are wonderful and deceptively easy.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Preparation modified slightly
- 1-1/2 cups warm (110°F to 115°F)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 package (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 22 oz. (623g) al purpose flour (about 4-1/2 cups)
- 2 oz. (1/4 cup or half a stick) unsalted butter, melted (Decrease salt by ¼ tsp if you use salted butter)
- Vegetable oil or oiled parchment paper for pan
- 5 cups warm water
- 1/3 cups baking soda
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- Pretzel salt, cinnamon sugar, or seed medley for sprinkling
- Combine the water and sugar 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 salt, butter, and flour. 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. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Mix the warm water and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a 24-inch long rope, approximately the thickness of a sharpie marker. Put those play-dough skills you learned in kindergarten to good use! 🙂 Make a U-shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press into the bottom of the U-shape to form the shape of a pretzel.
- Dip each pretzel briefly into the baking soda solution, then place onto the parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash, and top with salt, cinnamon sugar, seeds or seasonings.
- Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 4 oz. pepper jack cheese,shredded
- 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk, divided
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (or more to taste)
- pinch salt
Toss together cheese and cornstarch, in a medium-sized saucepan, until evenly coated. Stir in 1 cup evaporated milk, the hot sauce and salt. Cook, stirring often, over medium-low heat until thickened, smooth and bubbly. Stir in additional evaporated milk, if needed, until desired consistency is reached.
NOTE: Don’t rush the heating of the cheese. If you do, it will separate into a globby oily mess!
Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 Tbsp honey
- ½ Tbsp (1-1/2 tsp) fresh squeezed lemon juice
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, honey and lemon juice. Store covered in the refrigerator.