These pretzels, however, are awesome, and they're pretty easy. True pretzel recipes involve a boiling stage. This one does not, but I still think they taste just as good. Instead of boiling them, you mix hot water and baking soda together and then dunk the shaped pretzel in that before you put it on the baking sheet. It's not exactly the same effect but you still get that crispy crust and chewy inside. Pretty delicious in my opinion. This is an Auntie Anne copycat recipe, so you know it's gotta be good. Plus, you should have all of the ingredients on hand unlike others I've seen and tried.
I don't make pretzels from scratch very often because they're really best on the day they're baked. After that the salt gets soft and liquidy and they lose something. I highly recommend you make them the day you want them and then eat all of them. Every single one. You could make the dough the day before and let it rise in your fridge covered the night before and then shape, dunk, and bake the day of. That would be my recommendation if you don't want to do everything in one day. If you need to reheat though, do it in the oven or a toaster oven. Please don't eat day two pretzels at room temperature or microwaved. It's truly not the same.
One more thing about pretzels. You want the rope to be long...at least 2 feet. The longer it is, the less likely it is to bake into itself and make more of a pretzel mound than an actual pretzel with the spaces. They taste good either way, but if you're looking for that mall pretzel, make sure your dough is at least 2 feet long.
Oh....I highly recommend you serve them with queso! Because everything is always better with queso.
Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
Makes 8 pretzels
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1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup bread flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the bath:
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (optional)
2-4 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
Coarse pretzel salt
In the bowl of your mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar and let sit for five minutes or until foamy. Add in the flours and mix with the paddle on low speed until everything is incorporated. Let sit for five minutes, add the salt, and mix. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low until the dough is smooth and tacky. Place in a clean greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour or until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper sprayed generously with cooking spray or silicone baking mats.
Prepare the baking soda water bath by mixing the two in a large container. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll/stretch each piece into a rope that is 1/2 inch thick or less and at least 24 inches long. Shape into a pretzel shape by creating a U with the rope, bringing the ends down into an X (that meet up with the bottom of the U, and then crossing the ends so they twist in the middle of the pretzel. Lightly press anywhere the dough touches itself. Dip into the bath and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Let rise for about 15 minutes, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Alternately, bake without the egg wash and salt, dunk in butter after they're baked and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature the same day they're baked (don't put in a bag).
To store any leftover pretzels (highly discouraged), you can keep them in a bag and then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes until crispy on the outside.
Recipe from Copycat Recipes Cookbook