Over the weekend, I introduced my husband to Pinterest. My cousin had been fearlessly pinning some drool-worthy recipes as of late. “I’m in a food funk,” I told him. “Check out these pins and let me know what sounds good.” It didn’t take long for him to catch on. Roughly one hour later, he handed my iphone back with a new board titled Husband Pleasing Food. Will was pretty fearless himself.
As it turns out, man pleasing food is deeply routed in cheese, bread and bacon. This was a far cry from the beans, vegetables and fruit I had been pushing but I was willing to compromise. “If I make this, we will be working out. You understand this, right?” “Agreed.” “We no longer have the metabolism to eat things like this and not get fat.” “I know.” Sigh. “All right.” I resigned myself to defeat and began scanning the recipes for a reasonable snack.
Will had pinned a copy cat Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel recipe. We had nearly all the ingredients except for brown sugar; the last of which was used on my Cherry Berry Crisp. Surely we didn’t need brown sugar to make pretzels. One quick Google search later and I had found this recipe by Pennies on a Platter.
I began to gather the ingredients but was confused when it called for “22 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour.” Which was it? There were 8 ounces in 1 cup. Clearly, there was some mistake in the conversion. The first batch was made with 4 cups of flour, about 32 ounces. The dough was so pillowy, I was unable to get a good roll on them but they were really very good. The second batch was made with exactly 4 1/2 cups of flour. The dough was much easier to work with. I was still unable to roll the pretzels and instead, gently stretched and pulled them into shape. The resulting pretzels were absolutely perfect.
The recipe calls for the raw pretzels to be plunged into a baking soda bath for 30 seconds. I asked Will to time it. Fumbling with hot soda water, partially cooked pretzels and my iphone at the same time was probably a bad idea.
Afterwards, each of the kids were given 4 pretzels to “paint” and salt. Then the pretzels were placed on the greased cookie sheets and into a 450 degree oven for 14 minutes. “Gorgeous.” I thought pleased with myself and my sweet little family. As for man pleasing food, it certainly was.
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for topping
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 4 1/2 all-purpose flour
- Non-stick cooking spray, for pan and bowl
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- Combine butter, sugar, salt and warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Add flour and mix with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, wipe the bowl and then spray with the non-stick cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl, turning once to cover both sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and boil 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup baking soda. Use cooking spray to grease 2 large cookie sheets.
- Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each piece into roughly a 24" rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, twist twice, then press onto the center of the rope, to form a pretzel shape.
- One at a time, drop the raw pretzels into the pot of boiling water and baking soda for 30 seconds. Use a large flat slatted spatula or tongs to remove.
- Mix egg yolk with 1 Tbsp of water to create the egg wash. Baste the pretzels with the egg wash and salt them to your liking.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 14 minutes or until pretzels are dark golden brown. Remove pretzels immediately from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack. Wait 5 minutes before eating.
To make smaller pretzels, roll the dough into 10-12" pieces. Makes 30 smaller pretzels.