The longer I took to decide on a photo to use for these Soft Salted Buttered Pretzels, the more my mouth started to water. I am sure that that has less to do with my pretzel making skills, and more to do with my reminiscing of the pretzels that I had for breakfast every day in Munich.
Perhaps this also in turn has to do with how much freshly made, soft baked pretzels resemble New York style bagels. That might sound funny at first read, but in Spain there is nothing that even closely resembles a bagel. There are only so many croissants one can eat, and rather than fill you up they only ever leave you wanting something more… like that good ol’ New York bagel.
So a German pretzel, firm on the outside, but soft on the inside and smothered in butter and salt, really is pretty darn close.
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 package yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- sea salt
- In a medium size bowl add water and then sugar, stirring until dissolved.
- Add the yeast and let sit for ten minutes to activate.
- Add the flour, and knead the dough for ten minutes.
- Form a ball, cover in a thin layer of oil in a large bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and reform into a ball. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces.
- Roll the dough between the palms of your hands creating a thin rope of dough, about a foot and a half long.
- Form the rope of dough into a pretzel shape by first forming a circular shape, then twisting the ends once, and then twice, and folding it over from the top to lay on the bottom of the circle you created.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, stir in the baking powder and the salt.
- Add each pretzel to the pot of boiling water, two or three at a time. Count for 30 seconds and remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon.
- Grease a baking sheet and place the pretzels on the sheet about an inch apart.
- Brush melted butter onto each pretzel and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 450 for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, serve warm or cold.
Reader be warned: this recipe is not easy. It really is for those who desperately want homemade soft buttery salty pretzels at any cost. Unlike other yeast and dough centric recipes this one takes quite a bit of physical labor. I was pretty tired after rolling out the third pretzel. You can chalk that up to a lack of upper body, dough rolling strength, but proceed with caution.
For creating the pretzel shape just think of the people who work at Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop. Somewhere stored in the baked of your mind is an image of you staring longingly at those pretzels just before placing your order. Stop, rewind, and zoom in. Behind those pretzels was someone making new pretzels, rolling the dough, twisting to perfection, and sprinkling with salt. Pause again. That twisting motion is what we are going for.
Last, if your oven is a bit lackluster like ours, you can turn on broil for just a minute to brown the tops of the pretzels. But as always when you turn on broil, keep a very close eye on them, they will burn in the blink of an eye if not closely attended to.