Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why post a recipe for a perfectly fitting Superbowl snack, something that you could have easily wowed friends with, two weeks after the Superbowl? For one, I made these on Superbowl day. A little scheduling mishap…sorry about that. (But they were a hit at my Superbowl potluck! No, really, I’m sorry.). But secondly, there are a lot of great sports that these pretzels would be appropriate for! The aforementioned college basketball, for one – I hear that March Madness is coming up. And isn’t baseball supposed to start soon? But anyway, sports have no business being in this conversation because these soft pretzels are just so yummy that you won’t even need a sporting event to justify making them!
Oh, wait. You’re saying that that wasn’t all that you were thinking? You’re also thinking that who in their right mind would even attempt to make soft pretzels at home? Who would go to the trouble of rolling little balls of dough into long, snake-like pieces just to twist them again in these weird shapes that never look quite the way they’re supposed to? Especially when you can buy perfectly acceptable soft pretzels at your local mall.
Well, friends. I have wonderful news for you. These are a breeze to make! You have to believe me! Remember…I’m afraid of yeast! There is usually a ban on yeast in my person kitchen! And yet, the dough worked beautifully again – just like the last time I ventured into yeast-land! As for the twisting, you can honestly make these any shape you like! These babies, they’re about the taste (notice the picture where I just cut the long strips of dough into cute little soft pretzel bites!). Homemade soft pretzels are out of this world. These are no-need-to-host-a-Superbowl-party-just-make-for-yourself-on-a-Tuesday-night good. Yep.
Homemade Soft Pretzels (original recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)
1 cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes, until yeast is foamy. Add the water/yeast along with the oil, sugar, salt and flour to a bowl and mix. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and slightly sticky, but very smooth. Place dough in a large oiled bowl, and let rise, covered, for 1 hour, until doubled.
Punch the dough down to release air, and divide the dough into 12 equal shapes and form them into small balls. Cover and let them rest for 15 minutes. Roll them into 18 to 20″ length rope-like pieces and form them into pretzel shapes, or pretzel bites, if desired. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the pretzels to rise for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large pot, bring the baking soda and water to a boil. Add the pretzels one at a time to the boiling water for 1 minute, flipping midway. Remove and place on a cooling rack. When cooled, transfer each pretzel to a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until dark brown.