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Opening Day

Soft pretzels

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
March 31, 2010

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Makes 12

To form the dough, use an electric mixer with a dough hook or a bowl and wooden spoon. Dipping the pretzels in a mixture of simmering baking soda and water gives soft pretzels their trademark deep golden hue.

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
Vegetable oil (for the bowl)
Extra butter (for the sheets)
1/3 cup baking soda
8 cups cold water
Coarse kosher salt (for sprinkling)
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a large bowl, combine the lukewarm water, yeast, brown sugar, and flour. Mix on medium speed or stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and shape into a smooth ball.

3. Rub a bowl with oil. Transfer the dough to it, turn it around in the bowl so it’s oiled all over. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

4. Set oven at 450 degrees. Butter 2 baking sheets.

5. In a stock pot, combine the baking soda and cold water. Bring to a simmer.

6. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface. Divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 24 inches long. Shape into a pretzel, gently pinching the dough where the ends touch so it holds its shape. Arrange pretzels on baking sheets.

7. With a wide slotted metal spatula, ease a pretzel into the simmering water and let it sit for 30 seconds. Return pretzel to the baking sheet. Sprinkle boiled pretzel with coarse salt. Continue until all the pretzels have been boiled and salted.

8. Transfer the sheets to the oven. Bake the pretzels for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are deep golden brown. Brush pretzels with melted butter while hot and cool 5 minutes on the sheets.

Keri Fisher