Remember that time I tried to make pretzels (in honor of National Pretzel Day!) and used three cups of flour instead of four? And the dough stuck to my hands like glue and I collapsed in a fit of laughter on my own kitchen floor at my own stupidity and the cat stared at me like I was nuts? Remember that? That was fun.
My pretzels are not pretty. But if you have any sort of artistic flair, you’ll make yours look much lovelier than mine.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For topping: raisins (press these into the pretzel dough right before you bake them) and cinnamon sugar, or salt, or sauteed butter and minced garlic, or a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour in a warm spot (you can turn your oven to its lowest setting, let it warm up, then turn it off and keep the door closed. This is the perfect environment to get those little yeast cells to multiply). NOTE: Spray whatever you use to cover the bowl with (a towel, plastic wrap, etc.) with cooking spray and it won’t stick to the dough once it rises.
Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner (these suckers SWELL as you can see from my tiny blob photo so do make them as thin as your dough will allow). Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place on well-greased cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
*You’ll want to brush melted butter and salt or cinnamon sugar or icing (whatever your topping of choice) right before you serve them. If you brush the butter on and then store them, they’ll get soggy.