Big Flavor for the Big Game: Big, Soft Pretzels

Two weeks ago, our friend Jim invited us over to watch the NFC Conference Championship game; since Tom is from Wisconsin and Green Bay was playing, spirits were high (well at least until it became clear that Green Bay was going to lose). I decided to make Shauna Sever's "Big, Soft Pretzels" for the game.

This recipe turned out to be easier than I had expected. You make the dough in a stand mixer. First, you stir together warm water, instant yeast, sugar, and melted butter in the bowl; let the mixture rest for five minutes; and add bread flour and salt. Then you fit the mixer with the dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, and let it rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size -- which takes less than an hour.

After the dough has risen, you divide it into six equal parts, roll each portion into a rope 24-inches long, and form it into a pretzel shape. You boil the pretzels in a mixture of water, baking soda, and sugar for 20 seconds on each side before brushing them with salted egg wash, sprinkling them with coarse salt, and baking them in a very hot oven.
These pretzels were quite large and I could barely fit six on a half-sheet pan; as you can see in the photo above, the edges of a few expanded to just touch during baking. I brushed them with melted butter while they were still warm from the oven. These pretzels looked so good right after baking that it took all of my willpower not to eat one. But since I only had six, I wanted to take all of them to Jim's house -- so I waited and we ate them a few hours after baking.

The pretzels were freakin' delicious, even at room temperature. They had a wonderfully chewy exterior, a dense but soft interior, and classic pretzel flavor. The recipe only makes six pretzels, but they are definitely big enough to share. Jim provided pub cheese as an accompaniment and everyone loved the pretzels, including all of his kids. If I have one minor complaint, it's that the coating of butter that goes on after baking made the pretzels a little greasy to handle. But that's nothing a napkin can't solve. And I wish that I had had some pretzel salt to sprinkle on top; I had to settle for Maldon instead.

I can't even imagine how amazing these pretzels must taste warm from the oven. I can't wait until I make them again.

Recipe: "Big, Soft Pretzels" from Midwest Made by Shauna Sever.

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Louise said…
I'm surprised the recipe doesn't include barley malt syrup, but maybe that's the difference between Midwest Made and Philly pretzels. : )