I recently made homemade soft pretzels. I found the recipe at the King Arthur Flour website, but I’ll post it here as well. The website has directions on a food processor method as well as a bread machine method but all I had were my two hands and a fork, so here’s the manual method:
Yield: 8 pretzels
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope, and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
I doubled the recipe and used a stick of melted butter to brush on all 16 of them. These were amazing and they got rave reviews. They really weren’t too hard to make, but they will take a few hours with all the rising time needed. Jamie keeps asking me when I will make them again.