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Author Notes: I find the smell of soft baked pretzels so alluring I can never seem to pass one up, but then I always find them disappointing. Once you get past the salt and the unique baking soda flavor of the skin, the insides are often tasteless and styrofoamy. So, I thought, why not try making pretzels with an enriched challah style dough so the crumb would be flavorful. Yum! You can shape the dough as pretzels, but for a party I'd suggest cutting up strands of dough into little pretzel bites. It will make a ton! —fiveandspice
Food52 Review: WHO: fiveandspice is a nutrition grad student whose cooking, styling, and entertaining we admire.
WHAT: Brioche-like soft pretzels in bite form. You can serve with mustard, but your guests may not even notice.
HOW: Have faith. By the time the dough has boiled and baked, it will puff beautifully, even if it looks a little shriveled along the way.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Making your own pretzels takes only an afternoon and a bit of attention, and will make you legendary. —The Editors
Makes a lot!
- 3/4 cup warm water (around 105F)
- 3/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting surfaces, etc.)
- 8 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg white, for egg wash
- fleur de sel
- In a large bowl stir together the warm water and honey. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand until the yeast is foamy (about 5 minutes). Stir in the butter, salt, and eggs.
- Stir in the flour until it is entirely incorporated and it comes together in a shaggy ball. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for several minutes, until smooth. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until it rises and collapses (90 minutes - 2 hours)
- Punch the dough down, and on a floured surface roll it out into 8 ropes, each about 3/4 of an inch wide. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces, separate them from each other placing them on a tray or baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Bring a large pot filled with 8 cups of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, stir in 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/4 cup baking soda. It will bubble up like crazy! But then it will subside. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add your little dough pieces about ten at a time. Let them simmer for about a minute and a half, giving them a couple little stirs during the process to make sure both sides cook. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and put onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Repeat until all the little dough bites have been cooked in the water and have been placed onto baking sheets. You can squeeze on a lot per sheet, as long as they have a little space between them. Brush the bites with egg white and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are a deep chestnut brown. Remove onto cooling racks immediately to cool. These pretzel bites are best eaten the day they are baked (very best fresh baked, of course), so I guess you'll have to do it the morning or afternoon of the party!
- Serve with a little bowl of mustard, blue cheese dip (1 cup crumbled blue cheese whisked with 1/2 cup mascarpone), or chocolate fondue.
- This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Open House Dish