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Soft Pretzels

This recipe for homemade chewy pretzels comes from Sigmund Pretzelshop owner Lina Kulchinsky.

  • yield: Makes 1 dozen

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Ingredients

  • Warm water
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus more for serving
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pale ale-style beer
  • Pretzel salt
  • Mustard, for serving

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1/2 cup brown sugar; let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour and coarse salt using your hands. Add butter and continue to mix with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and, using your hands, mix until a shaggy dough is formed and water is absorbed.

  3. Step 3

    Using the dough hook attachment, mix dough on medium speed until dough is tight, elastic, and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator; let chill at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

  4. Step 4

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  5. Step 5

    Roll dough out into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut dough into one dozen 12-inch-long strips, each about 1-inch wide. Transfer to a large baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill for 15 minutes.

  6. Step 6

    Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out each piece into a 30- to 33-inch-long rope (about 3/4-inch thick), starting from the center and working toward the ends. Make a "U" shape with the rope and cross the ends over, pinching at the bottom of the "U" to form a pretzel. Return to baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough.

  7. Step 7

    Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine 8 cups water, baking soda, beer, and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer pretzels, one at a time, until pretzel floats, about 30 seconds; transfer to prepared baking sheet using a perforated spatula. Repeat process with remaining pretzels.

  8. Step 8

    Sprinkle pretzels with pretzel salt; transfer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and continue baking until pretzels turn a chestnut-brown color, 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with butter or mustard.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, February 2010

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Reviews (16)

  • 18 Jan, 2011

    These pretzels are definitely too salty. Need to cut down salt probably by half. This is coming from a person who doesn't even brush off the surface salt on a soft vendor pretzel.
    Has anyone tried this recipe with AP flour instead of the recommended bread flour? Did you notice any difference in texture?
    Also has anyone figured out a more fool-proof way of getting the pretzels out of the pot without them falling apart?

  • 27 Apr, 2010

    These are delicious! Made them twice already. I too have made Alton Brown's pretzels which are very good- until you try these. Both times I made them exactly as written, except for the 8 hour rise in the refrigerator. The first time I did the overnight rise and the dough was extremely difficult to work with. The second time I let the dough proof for 2 hours in a warm place. Made a big difference in how the dough behaved. I did not find these pretzels too salty. Highly recommend.

  • 27 Apr, 2010

    These are delicious! Made them twice already. I too have made Alton Brown's pretzels which are very good- until you try these. Both times I made them exactly as written, except for the 8 hour rise in the refrigerator. The first time I did the overnight rise and the dough was extremely difficult to work with. The second time I let the dough proof for 2 hours in a warm place. Made a big difference in how the dough behaved. I did not find these pretzels too salty. Highly recommend.

  • 24 Mar, 2010

    RE: Salt
    From the video segment, Martha commented on "A lot of Salt". Lina specified 1/4 cup of PRETZEL salt for the dough. Cheers!

  • 2 Mar, 2010

    these sure look good.. i did try it exactly how the recipe said... with 4 tbls of coarse salt... i used kosher salt.... absolutely too salty.. im a woman who likes salty things... i bet it should be 4 tsp.... i would return this pretzel if i bought at a stand or somewhere i paid for it .. next time im going to use the 4 teaspoons and see if it would work better. they do brown nicely... my teens ate them reluctantly.... we all liked the texture of the pretzel ...

  • 1 Mar, 2010

    I dont have a bread hook, does anyone know how long to knead the dough for? Every time I attempt to bake bread the dough always gets tough when I knead it , I dont know why.. that's why I'd be nervou to try this!

  • 28 Feb, 2010

    this is a fantastic recipe- if you add too much salt on top just scrape off as much as you want and the residue is nice because its just a bit salty . I have made pretzels before and this recipe is the best!!!

  • 26 Feb, 2010

    great recipe! wouldn" change anything. My entire family thought they were the best pretzels they ever had.

  • 25 Feb, 2010

    ok, took the "EnEdible" too salty advice and cut the salt it by half... and they were awesome!!! we also did cinnamon sugar ones too!!! they were all great! wonderful recipe!!!

  • 25 Feb, 2010

    This is a very easy recipe. It is a beautiful dough. I wouldn't change a thing!!!!!
    They turn out so nice and brown!!!! Loved them!!!!

  • 25 Feb, 2010

    These pretzels were absolutely INEDIBLE. Martha questioned the amount of salt in this recipe and commented on air that it was a lot of salt. She knew what she was talking about! These pretzels were so salty that we could not even eat them. If you try this recipe, I recommend taking the salt down by at least 75%. I would like to see Alexis' recipe. I'll bet they are way better.

  • 24 Feb, 2010

    Do you think that you could freeze the dough and then boil/bake them at a later time?
    I have the dough in the fridge now, I can't wait to make some tomorrow : )

  • 24 Feb, 2010

    I'm so excited to make these tonight! they look incredible! I never really knew anything about making pretzels

  • 24 Feb, 2010

    I can't wait to try these, they looked so good that I almost thought I smelled them through the TV!!!

  • 24 Feb, 2010

    She uses kosher salt., First ate it in Zurich.
    Use whisk in step 1 to mix. Step 2 mix until you don't see any flour. Step 3:Pat in down with hands, roll it out. Roll from center, turning it as you roll out. 14"x12", cut dough down the middle, then down the middle of each, cut 4 into each strips, you end out with 12 strips. Let it relax in fridge. Steip 6 Keep rolling our to 36", rolling back and forth.

    She's located in Lower East Side, Manhanttan

  • 24 Feb, 2010

    Yummy looking on TV, I LOVE soft pretzels, hope to try this recipe!