Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Ok, so pretzels are German cuisine.  But surely they eat pretzels in Italy, don't they?  My timing on these was bad in other ways, too.  I waited way too long to begin forming and baking the pretzels after the dough was ready.  That may have contributed to the way these things look, which is really awful, especially before they were baked.  You'll see.  You'll either laugh or make a squishy face.   

There is everything wrong with posting about pretzels right now.  But I made them.  And so I will post them.  

I should mention that these pretzels do have one redeeming quality.  The flavor is AWESOME!  If you close your eyes when you eat them, it's quite a good experience.

Throw everything into a bread maker and let it do all the work.  

When the dough is ready cut into 16 or so dough balls.  Roll into 16-inch to 20-inch snakes.  

That's better.

Twist into pretzel shape and drop into boiling water/baking soda solution for 30 seconds.

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Attractive, no?

In their pre-baked state they bear a startling resemblance to these little gems.  Don't you think?

Bake until golden brown, about 12 - 14 minutes.

recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 ounces butter, melted and cooled
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast

about 14 cups of water
1 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
coarse salt for topping
2 ounces melted butter

Add first six ingredients to bread maker pan.  Set on dough cycle.

Place baking racks in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly brush the paper with oil.  It’s important to brush the parchment paper or the pretzels will stick!

Combine water and baking soda in a large pan (8 quart is fine) saucepan and bring to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough out onto a clean, slightly oiled work surface.  
Divide dough into about 16 pieces, depending on how large you’d like your pretzels.  Fewer pieces means bigger pretzels.

Start with the fingers of both hands in the center of the dough, and roll, moving your hands outward as you roll.  Roll the dough along the oiled surface until you have about a 16-inch or 20-inch piece of rope (depending on how large your piece of dough was… the more dough the longer the rope).
Twist into pretzel shape, making sure to seal the ends.

When water has come to a boil, gently lower a pretzel into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Remove carefully, using a flat, slotted spatula.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush boiled pretzels with beaten egg, and add coarse sea salt.

Bake until deeply golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes.  Drizzle with melted butter and serve warm.

Soft pretzels are best enjoyed the day they are made.


  1. Well I think they look wonderful--Julia Child would make no excuses! I want some! (I especially like the smiley face:)

  2. I'm just going to pretend that they are contortionist bread sticks that enjoy hot-tubbing on the weekend. That or this is what happens when you take a wrong one-way road north on your tour of Italy.