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Author Notes: This recipe is reprinted with permission from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain. —Kim Boyce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for the bowl and the baking sheets
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup rye flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Bath and Finish
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Course sea salt, such as Maldon
- Measure the yeast into a large bowl. Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a small saucepan over low heat to a temperature that is warm to the touch, about 100°F, and pour it over the yeast. Add the honey and stir to combine. Add the flours and salt and stir again.
- Dump the sticky dough onto a floured surface and knead. Add up to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, as needed, until the dough is tacky but not sticky. Knead for about 12 minutes, or until the dough is soft and supple.
- While the dough is rising, place two racks at the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Brush two baking sheets generously with butter.
- Once the dough has doubled, gently pour it from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Take each piece of dough and roll it into a snake about 17 inches long, with thinly tapered ends. Don't flour your surface as you roll; the slight stickiness enables you to roll the dough out evenly and quickly. Form the dough into a pretzel shape by folding one third of the left side over the center of the snake, and then one-third of the right side over the left. Place the shaped pretzels onto the prepared baking sheets. Let the pretzels proof (rise) for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the bath, fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once the pretzels are proofed and the water is boiling, add the baking soda to the water.
- To poach the pretzels, lift 2 or 3 pretzels, depending on the surface area of your pot, into the bath. Boil each side for 30 seconds, use a strainer to remove the pretzels, pat any excess water with a towel, and transfer them back onto the buttered baking sheets. Boil the remaining pretzels. Sprinkle liberally with salt.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The pretzels should be dark mahogany in color. Transfer them to a rack to cool. These pretzels are best eaten the day they're made, ideally within the hour.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!