Giant soft pretzels conjure memories

January 20, 2011|Scott Anderson | Culinary Passion

This pretzel recipe came out of a National Geographic kids magazine back in the late 1970s. I loved to read and loved spending time in the kitchen making a mess so this recipe is the best of both worlds. My grandmother bought the magazine for me and it was one of the true highlights of my day when it arrived in the mail.

They are very easy to make and something fun to do with your kids. You can mix them in either a stand mixer with dough hook or a bread machine on dough setting.

In either case, once the dough is ready simply turn out onto a floured board and roll away.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did when my mother and I first made them nearly 30 years ago.

—  Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Giant soft pretzels

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (70 to 80 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 quarts boiling water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup  coarse salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place water, flour, brown sugar, yeast in order listed into mixer with dough hook or bread machine, according to manufacturer. Select dough setting and check to see if water or more flour is needed as mixing begins.

The ingredients should turn into a ball, slightly sticky but holding shape to itself. While this process is taking place, get a large pot of water boiling, and add  the baking soda. The pot should be able to hold two pretzels at a time.

When cycle is completed turn dough onto floured surface. Divide dough into eight balls. Roll each into 20-inch rope; form into a traditional pretzel shape and set aside on sprayed wax paper.

Drop two pretzels at a time into water. Boil for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove and drain on side towels.

Place pretzels on greased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and press into a salt that has been spread onto a plate.

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