Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

I had originally written this post a couple of weeks ago, but was not able to finish it until today due to ummmm…some photo glitches.  Can you believe I had a glitch?  I mean, my life always runs so smoothly with absolutely no interruptions, complications, or challenges.  Long story short, as crazy as life was when my kids were little, I think that I’d rather go back to those days of footed pajamas and bedtime stories just so that I could get a vacation!

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

Honey Buns has been perfecting these wonderful soft homemade pretzels for 25 years.  Yes, 25 years, and let me tell you something–that man is outrageously territorial when he is in the kitchen.  This year, however, my Main Squeeze wasn’t able to make his beloved pretzels, because he biffed it on the ice a month ago and pretty much obliterated the bones in his wrist.  3 1/2 hours of surgery later the doctor had been able to pin, glue, staple, nail, weld, and bubblegum the bones back together.  A complication occurred a week later and I ended up doing some seriously gruesome wound care for the next three weeks.  HOWEVER, the wounds healed and he was finally able to get a cast on that wrist today, one month later (now six weeks later).

You’d think that after all the tender loving care he has received that he would have been meek, mild, humble and grateful…and he has been just those things…until this afternoon in the kitchen at which time he turned into a pretzel Nazi.  Katie was generous enough to offer to make the pretzels while John gave her verbal instructions.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

Do not be deceived by that smiling face in the picture.  Katie earned her place in heaven today, just because she was willing to put up with her dad barking pretzel-making orders at her.  Bless her sweet soul.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe at that’s some good cookin’

Makes 12-16 large, soft pretzels.  
This is a picture of the recipe that we keep taped inside one of the kitchen cabinet doors.  I thought it would be a fun change to use this picture instead of my usual format.  The recipe instructions are a bare minimum, so I have included a tutorial on the ‘how-to’s”–things that we have figured out over the years.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
***Additionally, 1 tablespoon of baking soda will be added to the cooking water.  Explained in tutorial below.
We like to mix our dough in a heavy duty electric mixer.  This one is a Bosch, but we have also used a Kitchen Aide.  Before we had a mixer, we made these pretzels by hand, start to finish.  Ah, the good old days.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
After the dough has mixed, start boiling about 1 1/2-2 inches of water in a large frying pan, or deeper if you are using a large sauce pot.  Add 1 tablespoon baking powder to the water.  The baking soda helps to seal the pretzel and gives it a good outer skin.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
To begin forming the pretzels, first gather the dough together and shape it into thick log.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Cut log into 12-16 equal pieces, depending on how large you want the pretzels to be.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Roll each piece into a longish rope, somewhere between 10-12 inches.  Skinny rope = skinny, drier pretzel.  Those are not very much fun.  We prefer fatter, softer pretzels, but that’s just us.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Cross the two ends of the rope, making a loop at the bottom.
Wrap the two ends around each other again.  They have now crossed each other twice.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Take the two ends and fold them down over the loop; press the ends securely against the base of the loop.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Working in batches, place the pretzels in the boiling water; don’t over-crowd.  Initially, they will sink to the bottom of the pan.  This is exactly what they are supposed to do.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Boil them until they float to the top of the water.  Sometimes they will stick a little to the bottom of the pan, so nudge them with a cooking utensil to loosen them.  The boiling process only takes a couple of minutes.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
After the pretzels have floated to the top of the water, remove them and put them on a wire rack to drain.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Spray two cookie sheets generously with cooking spray.  See those squiggly lines on my cookie sheet?  Those are from years and years of pretzel making.  Of all the things that get cooked on these pans, the pretzels are the only things to have left a mark.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Place 8 pretzels on each pan.  Give them plenty of space between each other.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Beat the remaining egg with a fork.  You may need two eggs for this, depending on how much egg you use on top of the pretzels.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Put some kosher salt in a small bowl.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Then, using your hand for good portion control, sprinkle each pretzel with some of the salt.  Best advice: sprinkle lightly or else your pretzels will taste VERY salty.  Even John, Mr. I-love-salt-more-than-steak-or-pizza, says to go easy on the salt.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Bake at 425-degrees F. for 20-30 minutes.  That egg wash that got baked to the pan…could be a good time to hire Merry Maids.  While you are scouring that off of the pan, keep reminding yourself how wonderful these pretzels taste.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Eat ‘um while they’re nice and warm and don’t forget the mustard for dipping.  We really enjoy the Swedish mustard that we get from IKEA.  Our other favorite is a stone ground deli-style mustard.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
 Bea-U-ti-ful! 

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