I’ve been pretty active on Instagram, posting my latest recipe tests and doing little how-to’s in my stories. In liking other people’s stuff and posting my own, I’d gotten some feedback from other baking profiles. One commenter had complimented my flavors on a post, to which I replied that all credit goes to King Arthur Baking, as I simply just tested out the recipe. They then recommended I try their Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels, and with a name like that, I was already drooling. Like most places in the states, our malls do actually have little pretzel shops that sell those iconic soft pretzels either served with a cheese sauce or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I obviously haven’t been to a mall in months, so It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a pretzel. I had also been a bit apprehensive too, thinking that they were hard to make. Then again, I’ve already made bagels, hamburger buns, white bread and various dinner rolls at this point that pretzels seemed like another item on my bread to-do list.
The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 475. This is the hottest my oven has ever been, so I was a bit nervous as to whether or not it could stand up to it. While that heats up, add your bread flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast and warm water to a bowl. Mix that for about 8 minutes on medium high, scraping down the sides of the bowl until it’s cohesive. The base dough is super simple and comes together really easily. That then gets transferred to a greased bowl and covered with plastic wrap before it’s left to rise for only a half hour. Believe me when I say these are relatively quick, as far as bread is concerned. You then make up a baking soda solution by mixing together boiling water and baking soda, and letting that cool to room temperature. Now you can start your shaping. Take the dough and divide it into eight pieces. Then, take one piece of dough and start shaping it into a rope. If you’ve ever worked with playdough, then this will be familiar. Keep going, extending that rope until it’s about 24-30 inches long, being careful that it doesn’t break. Then, form your pretzels by crossing both ends to make a ribbon, and then make the two ends meet at the arc. It’s a lot more complicated to explain than it is to do- trust me. I will say that you could shape these however you want and they’ll turn out amazing- but if we’re making pretzels, I want the iconic shape. I placed each one on a square of parchment for easy transport. Then, take each pretzel and dip them into that baking soda solution. Pour some over the tops and leave them to soak for about 2 minutes. This helps tremendously with browning- and I’ll explain more on that in a bit. Drain them and transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt for savory pretzels and then bake about 8 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Once they come out of the oven, generously brush them with melted butter and serve warm.
Wow. And I mean wow. These pretzels are incredible. They’re so buttery and soft- with just the right amount of chewiness. I did half salted and half sweet on my first batch, but later decided to make them all sweet. I simply took some granulated sugar mixed with cinnamon, and dipped the buttered pretzels into that mix to coat. This really took it over the top and was a hit among family. Coated in cinnamon sugar, they taste just like donuts and have that same softness that you’d expect. They have the added bonus of being baked, not fried, so perhaps pretzel donuts is my new thing. Now I actually made the recipe twice in a row because I had given out the first batch to some family members, leaving my own household wanting more. It was perfect too, because although they turned out great, my first batch wasn’t quite as perfect as I wanted them. I’d used the higher amount of water in the recipe as KAB provides different amounts based on the season. As a result, my dough was more difficult to handle and my pretzels didn’t have much definition. They still tasted great, but I wasn’t as happy with the look. My second try used the lower amount of water which was far better. I was able to get those classic shapes without losing that softness. This recipe goes on my list for top five things I’ve made from this series. I’m actually debating weather or not I want to make more today.
Full Recipe | Method from King Arthur Flour: