Good recipe, though I replaced the oil with butter and used less flour. Another reviewer asked why the baking soda bath is necessary: Old world Germans used to dip their brezels (pretzels) in a solution of sodium hydroxide (lye) and water before baking. Lye is a very strong and caustic alkaline. Because most people aren’t comfortable mixing lye and water to make pretzels, baking soda – a much weaker alkaline – is now used in most pretzel recipes. Once the pretzels begin baking, a ‘Maillard reaction’ occurs. This is a chemical reaction sortof like carmelization, which allows the exterior crust to become a deep rich brown color. The reaction accelerates in an alkaline environment, which – you guessed it – has been provided by the baking soda bath. The baking soda, and resulting reaction, is also responsible for the unique taste of a pretzel. Without the baking soda bath the pretzel exterior ends up pale/white, and taste more like bread. This baking soda / lye bath step is paramount in making a pretzel a pretzel.
I have gotten into baking breads, etc. since my wife bought a baking stone. This recipe is very good. The pretzels didn’t last long.
Here’s what I will do next time I make a batch:
After dividing the dough into 12 pcs., roll the dough out into a rope at least 20-24″ long. The dough will expand.
Spray “I Can’t Believe Its Butter” after I place the pretzels on the sheet and sprinkled coarse salt. I tried this on 3 pretzels from my first batch and they were better tasting.
Use a rack that’s up higher in the oven to prevent burning of the pretzels bottoms.
Make sure my wife stands over me to supervise.
WOW!! These pretzels are absolutely amazing. They were soft and chewy on the inside, awesome flavor, with that great authentic thin “pretzel” crust on the outside. I spooned the melted butter over them after baking which soaked in and was just perfect. My husband described them as “heavenly”, haha, never heard him use that one before! Next time I will bake at maybe 415 or lower to keep them from being too brown before being done in the middle. I’ve been searching for a pretzel recipe and this one was much easier than most that I found. Tip: let dough rise in your oven, no heat, just turn on the oven light. Provides a draft free, warm place for dough to double flawlessly. Also use a damp kitchen town instead of plastic wrap to cover bowl and you won’t have a dry crust to your risen dough. I do this with all of my bread recipes!
4 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1½ c warm water
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