It's amazing how the weather will change so quickly in Maine. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute! Just a few days ago we were all sweltering, and spending as much time in front of the fan or in the ocean. Now, today, we have the heater running! That is why I love Maine, you barely have time to get tired of the weather!
Today, on this dreary day, I am bringing you the most amazing pretzel recipe. I could seriously eat this whole batch myself. No joke. My husband wants me to make these almost daily (which doesn't happen- sorry hunny!) These are soft, chewy and salty. Oh.My.Word. These would be perfect to make on a day like today, dreary and pouring rain! It would make the smell of wet dog and the sound of unhappy children (because they can't go outside since they just might get washed away) all slip away in your house to be replaced by the smell of deliciousness. (Is that even a word?) The process takes a while, but it is so, so worth it. You can even freeze these! Just make them as directed, but stop right before the boiling stage. Take straight from the freezer (still frozen), boil for 45 seconds and bake for a few minutes longer! Piece of cake.
For the dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 packet) instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and cleans the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and turn once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 50-55 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. If lining with parchment paper, lightly spray with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover with a damp dish cloth.
Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope.
Make a U-shape with the rope.
Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and twist once and place onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one or two at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark and golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for a least 5 minutes before serving.
Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce, or eat them plain!
*These are best the day they are made, otherwise the salt melts into the dough and makes it puffy.