Make Ahead

Chile Pretzels

April 11, 2011
Author Notes

On a recent trip to the States, I was fortunate not only to shop at the huge malls where the central divide is as wide as a London street, but also to sample stunningly soft and delicious pretzels at Auntie Anne's.

Join me in doffing hat, curtsying and bowing head to foot for the great pretzels. My favourite one though was the chile pretzel, hands down and when I returned 'home' to the Netherlands, I wasted NO time in rustling up my version....which hit every note, just like it had in sunny Texas.

My version uses a lazyman's no-knead dough....and ends up with great results. Considering that my almost 4 year old who eats with his eyes gobbled one of the plain ones - to my greatest surprise! - Kitchen Butterfly —Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

What a divine treat! My family started munching these spicy pretzels right out of the oven and we loved them. Jalapeno and chiles are a tasty addition to this easy, delicious pretzel dough. I had a roasted fresh jalapeno leftover from another recipe and used that. Though I had never made pretzels before, I found Kitchen Butterfly's precise instructions guided me well. These chile pretzels are so good you'll never have another mall food court pretzel again! -- BlueKaleRoad —BlueKaleRoad

  • Makes 8
Ingredients
  • BASIC DOUGH
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons (unsalted) butter
  • 15g fresh yeast (or 1 1/8 teaspoons of active dry yeast)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of Piment d’espelette or Cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup white bread flour
  • 3 cups regular white/all purpose flour
  • 1 green Jalapeno/3 small green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • FOR COOKING PRETZELS
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • TO FINISH PRETZELS, WHEN BAKED
  • 4 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • Mustard, to serve
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. PREPARING THE DOUGH
  2. Put ½ a cup of boiling water in a large mixing bowl and add the butter and stir till it emulsifies. Then top up with a cup of lukewarm water. {If using active dry yeast, sprinkle yeast on 1 ½ cups of lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve and then add the butter}
  3. Crumble the fresh yeast in the water-butter mixture and stir to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and stir to dissolve; add flour and using a wooden spoon or hand-held dough mixer bring mixture together till combined. The dough is ready when it is evenly combined without any dry patches.
  4. At this stage you can knead dough until smooth and elastic and then let rise at least 1/2 hour or you can do what I did – cover the dough with a lid (or loosely with cling film/plastic wrap) and leave the dough on the counter to rise for a couple of hours. Then lightly oil the top of the dough and the bottom of a lid and pop this in the fridge overnight.
  5. Prepare a clean surface and lightly dust with flour. Turn the dough out and gently knead, then gather into a smooth ball.
  6. Make a paste with the jalapeno/green chiles, sugar and salt by pounding in a mortar and pestle till a paste forms. Knead the chili paste into the dough.
  7. When read to shape, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a long 'rope', about 18 inches long. Start in the middle and move your hands outward while pulling, stretching, and rolling the dough strip, being careful to do this gently and not to over-work the dough.
  8. See photo number - shape the 'rope' into a U on the counter. Cross the ends to form a loop and then cross the top of the loop again, doubling it. Pull the end down to the bottom of the ‘U’ and then pinch to seal, about 2 inches apart. You should then have the classic pretzel shape...or something similar! Repeat for the other pieces of dough
  9. Transfer pretzels to an oiled baking sheet and let rest 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of resting, the dough should have risen...a little. If not, don't worry all that will change in the hot soda bath.
  10. TO BATHE PRETZELS
  11. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C or 450 degrees F. When you’re ready to make the pretzels, bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda and then stir.
  12. You will need to do the next steps in batches – pick up a pretzel by the pinched ends or use a large slotted spoon and dip into the baking soda solution. In batches, boil pretzels until puffed and slightly shiny, about 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack with a slotted spoon, to drain. Repeat for all the others.
  13. Then line the baking sheets with parchment or greaseproof paper, which prevents soggy bottoms and makes it much easier to get the pretzels off when ready (unlike just greasing the pans). Place pretzels on baking sheet and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
  14. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cooking.
  15. Once out of the oven, brush on melted butter (or any other flavoured butters for that matter). Serve warm or at room temperature.
  16. Pretzels will keep at room temperature for a couple of days in a covered bowl or ziploc, or can be frozen.

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Review
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!