e a s t.
Yeast the beast. Yeast is scary. Am I right or am I right? Is my water hot enough to make it bubble? Is it suppose to bubble? Will it expand? Will it expand the first resting period and then psych you out like when the boy you like wants to talk to you, but only to ask you about your best friend? Oh man, yeast SUCKS. Truthfully, I'm not certain when yeast isn't scary. Yeast infections? SCARY (yeah I went there). Okay okay, yeast does ferment and gives us booze, so that's rad. Anyway, together and with the guidance from our good friend King Arthur let's get over the fear of yeast (at least in non anatomical settings) and eat some soft pretzels.
Hot Buttered Pretzels, from King Arthur Flour
What you will need:
• 2 1/2 cups Unbleached, All- Purpose Flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/4 teaspoon regular instant yeast
• 1 cup warm water
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 2 Tablespoons baking soda
• 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Now King Arthur gives you a few options including a food processor method, and a bread machine method, but we'll use their third option, the mixer. If you'd like to check out the other methods just click on that handy dandy link I posted above.
Let's do this:
-Place all of the dough ingredients into your mixing bowl. Knead the dough on medium high speed for about 5 minutes. It will pull away from the sides of the bowl, and form a bowl that is soft, smooth, and quite slack. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a greased bowl, cover it up, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F.
If you are like me you will stop and go, "500? Does my oven do that?!!" It most likely does, so just start preheating it!
Gather two baking sheets and prepare them 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 (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). 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; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel, or whatever shape you can make. 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. I actually sprinkled 3 of them with cinnamon and brown sugar to make a "sweet" pretzel. They turned out AWESOME. However, the excess burned in the 500 degree oven so it was a liiiittle smokey. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
**Also, my parchment paper almost caught on fire. The edges turned SUPER dark and started smoking... so keep an eye on that 500 degree oven. No soft pretzel is worth burning your home down... (okay, maybe some are, but seriously don't do it.)
Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and drown them in 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 glorious taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or if you somehow do not devour all of them at once, reheat them in an oven or microwave.