Soft Pretzels: In a small
measuring cup stir the yeast and white sugar into lukewarm water. Let stand
until foamy (about 5-10 minutes).
the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours,
brown sugar, and salt.
Gradually pour the yeast mixture
into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add
the melted butter, then knead this mixture on medium speed until you
have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic, and just a little sticky (this
will take about 3 to 5 minutes). Shape
the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled large bowl, turning once so
the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from
forming on the top of the dough). Cover with
plastic wrap and let rise in a warm
place until doubled (approximately 1 hour).
Then gently press the dough
to release the air and let rest about five to ten minutes.
oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Have ready a baking sheet that is lined
with aluminum foil. Thoroughly spray the foil with a vegetable spray or brush
with a flavorless oil.
In a large
skillet or Dutch oven mix 1/3 cup (90 grams) baking soda into 8 cups (2 liters)
water. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
divide the dough into six equal portions (each portion should weigh about 105
grams) and cover them with a clean dish towel.
Working with one portion of dough at a time roll the dough back and forth, using
both hands with even pressure (working from the center outwards), until you have
a 24 inch (60 cm) long rope. Lift the rope periodically as you roll to make sure
it's not sticking to the counter. Then form the rope into a U shape with the two
ends pointing away from you. Take the two ends and cross them, left over right,
about 2 - 3 inches (5 - 7 cm) from the ends. Then cross the ends again, right over left.
Lightly moisten the two ends with water and fold the two ends down and press
them into the bottom of the U at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. This will give you that
classic "pretzel" shape. Place the pretzel onto your prepared baking sheet.
Cover your baking sheet with a clean towel and continue rolling and forming the
other five portions of dough into pretzels.
Next, using a
slotted spoon or wire skimmer, gently place one pretzel into the boiling water,
top of the pretzel facing down (I like to place two pretzels into the boiling water
at a time). Boil for 30 seconds, then turn the pretzels over and boil for an
additional 30 seconds. Remove the pretzels from the water using your slotted
spoon, drain, and place the pretzels back onto your prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining pretzels. You should be able to fit all six pretzels
on one baking sheet as the pretzels don't really rise in the oven.
In a small bowl
whisk the egg yolk with the cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops
of the pretzels with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle the pretzels with a
little pretzel salt, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds.
pretzels for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Half way through baking,
turn your baking sheet front to back. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack
to cool. Homemade pretzels are at their best the day they're made. But they can
be covered and stored at room temperature for a day or two.
Makes six large (4.5 inch) (11.5 cm)