I hate the mall. I want to love it, I want to enjoy my time there, and I always convince myself that I’ll enjoy it before I arrive. But then, as soon as I walk in the door, all the people that don’t seem to care if they’re in your way, all the kiosk workers to get your attention and all the shopping companions that want to spend 45 minutes trying on jeans sour my experience.
As my shopping trips have increasingly been online, I realized there’s one thing I’m really missing about going to the mall — the soft pretzels! So, in that spirit, I decided to make my own and enjoy one in front of the glow of my laptop.
These pretzels, like their mall counterparts, can easily be topped with a ton of different flavors — check out the last page for topping ideas and the next page for the recipe!
- 3 cups warm water (about 115 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 9 cups flour (all-purpose works best, but feel free to use whole wheat)
- 4 oz melted unsalted butter
- 10 cups water
- 1/3 cups baking soda
- 2 large egg yolks, beat with 2 tablespoons water
- Vegetable oil for pan
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, kosher salt & sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top of the mixture. Let sit until it begins to foam, around 5 minutes.
2. Add melted butter and flour to the mixture. With your mixer’s dough hook attachment, mix until combined evenly on low speed. When it’s combined, change the speed to medium. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it pulls away from the side of the bowl and has a smooth texture.
3. Set dough aside and clean bowl. Oil it generously with vegetable oil. Put dough back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot and wait until it’s doubled in size, around 55 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets and, with a pastry brush, lightly brush with oil. Set pans aside.
5. Boil 10 cups of water and the baking soda in a saucepan. While the water/baking soda is boiling, place dough on a lightly oiled surface.
6. Divide dough into 16 pieces of equal size, and roll out each piece into a rope of about 24 inches. Shape the rope into a ‘U’. Cross the ends of the rope over each other & attach them to the bottom of the rope. It should look like a pretzel now! After assembling each pretzel, place them on the cookie sheets.
7. One at a time, Carefully put each pretzel in the boiling water for about 30 seconds each. Take them out of the water with a large spatula (I have to use 2 because I’m clumsy!) and place them back on the cookie sheet.
8. Brush pretzels with egg yolk/water mixture and sprinkle with desired toppings.
9. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the pretzels are dark golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating.
Next Page: Toppings ideas!
1. Plain ol’ coarse salt. There are a ton of different salts out there, though, so splurge a little! Of course, you can always go with pretzel salt.
2. Cinnamon & sugar. Skip step 8 of the recipe — instead, brush 1 cup of melted butter & 2 tbs honey onto the pretzels, and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.
3. Parmesan & garlic. Combine 1/2 cup Parmesan and 2 teaspoons garlic, sprinkle on top of egg yolk/water mixture.
4. Sesame seeds. Generously sprinkle sesame seeds on top of pretzels.
5. Herb-y delight. Combine desired herbs, like rosemary, basil, oregano, etc. with garlic salt and sprinkle on top. Serve with marinara or pesto!
6. Nutritional yeast. My favorite popcorn topping works well on pretzels, too. Try dipping them in soy sauce — the best!
Sound off on your favorite pretzel topping in the comments!