I’m more than a little behind on sharing recent recipes attempts from the Middleton and Turner kitchen. Besides the house projects we’ve undertaken to improve the property, I’ve also been spending much of my free time working on the fourth draft of my novel. Onward and upward.
Below you’ll find an easy recipe for homemade pretzels that I tried last weekend. I was craving the Auntie Anne’s buttery glazed raisin pretzel I used to buy when my friends and I roamed the south Alabama malls of our surly youth. Between our visits to the ever-classy Spencer’s Gifts and CD shops, we really worked up an appetite, and gnawing on a chewy pretzel while slurping a tall Coke hit the spot.
Indoor malls aren’t really a thing in 2015, and while some still exist in Colorado, those days of yore when I had nothing but time are long gone, so I decided to hunt down a recipe that would allow me to put away a pretzel on my own schedule. After a cursory web search, I learned that my love for Auntie Anne’s pretzels is shared by many. I found several knock-off recipes. Sprinkled with Flour’s recipe looked the easiest to follow and the least time consuming to construct.
I’m not the most spatially gifted so twisting the pretzel dough into their final shape took a little work, but once I had the hang of things, it went quickly. If you’re not planning to serve all eight pretzels immediately, I recommend freezing the extra dough after you’ve shaped the pretzels. When ready to bake, thaw the dough and make a hot baking soda bath to soak the pretzels before baking.
(adapted from a Sprinkled with Flour recipe)
Makes 8 large pretzels
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp sugar
– 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
– 1 cup warm water (You may need a little less in the summer depending on the humidity where you live. Your goal is a soft dough, so you can always start with less and then add up to the full cup to help with dough texture.)
– 1/3 cup raisins (I made a half batch of raisin pretzels and a half batch of salted. If you’re making all raisin pretzels, then up the raisins to 1/2 cup.)
– 1 cup boiling water
– 2 TBS baking soda
– 3 TBS unsalted butter, melted (use nondairy butter substitute to keep vegan.)
Icing (for half batch raisin pretzels)
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 1-2 TBS milk or half and half (Use nondairy milk to keep vegan.)
1. To make dough by hand, or with a mixer:
Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand for 5 minutes or by machine for about two minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. I divided the dough in half at this point because I wanted to make half raisin and half plain pretzels. Place the plain half in a floured bowl and turn to coat. Add 1/4 cup raisins to the other half of the the dough still in the mixer, and mix until combined. (If you want all raisin pretzels, use 1/2 cup raisins and there’s no need to divide the dough in half). Place the raisin dough in the floured bowl and turn to coat also.
2. Take both halves of dough and place them each in a plastic bag, allowing them to rest for 30 minutes.
3. While the dough is resting, prepare the topping:
Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is mostly dissolved. Pour the mixture into a pan, and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
4. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces. (If you halved the dough for two different flavors, divide each half into 4 equal pieces.) Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
6. Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 3″ long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. This baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
7. Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
8. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter until you’ve used all the butter.
9. Mix together 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and enough milk to reach your desired pouring consistency. I used about 1-2 tablespoons of half & half. Drizzle the icing over the warm raisin pretzels. I left the plain pretzels simple, bathing them in good butter and sprinkling with coarse sea salt. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.