January 7, 2011

Soft Pretzels

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


As you may have noticed, I've been in the mood for updating a couple recipes. I realized that if there's a recipe I don't make often, it's probably because it isn't that good to begin with. Since updating both the hamburger buns and cinnamon rolls recipe, I've made them both at least half a dozen times, so that should be enough to tell you I'm happier with the newer recipes.


And speaking of updating, I also re-visited this soft pretzel recipe (almost a year to the date!). I love soft pretzels, especially during the season of bowl games and the upcoming Super Bowl, but I had pretty painful memories of making that original recipe. The dough was so hard to roll out, some were soft others too hard and chewy. So I set about researching some pretzel info and found a much better recipe. Don't believe me? I've made three batches since finding this recipe, and even wrapped half a batch around some hot dogs. They're that good.

Pretzel Tips:
1. Ditch the mixer! Mix this dough by hand, just enough until all ingredients are happily combined and then stop mixing! I mean it, step away from the dough. There is absolutely no need to knead (heh) and using a mixer will just end up over-mixing the dough, resulting in chewy pretzels instead of pillowy-soft ones.Your end dough may be sticky and thats a GOOD thing. Just flour your hands (not the counter) ever so slightly when its times to shape the dough, and you'll be set.

2. Dunk, don't cook. When it comes time to dunk the shaped pretzels into the baking soda solution, be sure not to leave them in there too long. This step is what gives pretzels and bagels that outer chewiness, but leaving them into there too long will produce cracked and hard pretzels. Just allow water to get very hot, dissolve the baking soda and then dunk the pretzel in. Do this step carefully so as not to unravel your twists. I use a slotted spoon, leave one side in the water for 3 seconds and flip and do the same for the other side. Remove and place immediately on your baking sheet. They are wet and therefor slippery and delicate at this point, so you don't want to move them around any longer than you have to.


Soft Pretzels
(loosely adapted from here)

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm (but not hot) water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
Dipping Solution
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 cups hot water

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast into warm water. Add sugar, then flour& mix well- do not knead, instead just mix until combined (you can turn out on the counter and use your hands to combine everything and then return to greased bowl).
  2. Let rise until doubled, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Cut into 12 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a long snake, twist into pretzel shape (illustrations here)
  4. Dip into prepared dipping solution.
  5. Place on well-greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with pretzel salt or kosher salt.
  6. Bake at 450-500°F for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.

20 comments:

  1. As-salaamu'alaykum
    Ooohh these look SO good!

    Thanks for all the tips :)
    I've never made pretzels before, insha'Allah I'd like to try them.

    I shall let you know how it goes :)

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  2. That looks so yum.. I want to try. :)

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  3. Thanks girls! They really are easy, let me know how it goes :)

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  4. These look so goood and warm right now!!!!!!!

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  5. Asalam Alaykum oh mashAllah sis they look awesome. I just found your blog I also have a food blog nice to find another sister in the foodie world.

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  6. Walaikum Salaam Noor, thanks so much for stopping by! I actually visit your blog quite often :)

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  7. I keep coming by here, reading this recipe, drooling, and then vowing to make it- this weekend insh'Allah!!!

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  8. Do it, Aisha, do it! They're soooo easy and yummy and everything else soft pretzels should be :)

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  9. Aassalamualaikom, they really look yummy and my kids insists that I tried it out. Being a large family is it better to make it in one go or by batches....I mean 2 batch of dough?

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  10. Assalaamu alaikum,

    I am currently trying out your recipe, just put the dough together, but got a few questions:

    1. Is it ok if I use bread flour instead of all purpose flour?
    2. My dough has quite a bit flour that had not been mixed together, so I added more water, about a 1/4 cup flour. Was that the case with you?
    3. Am I supposed to cover the flour with cling film when leaving to rise? I just have done that.
    4. Theres a typo in your recipe, flour instead of water in the ingredients section.

    Thanks so much for recipe and apologies for all the sections, I just really want to perfect this, if thats possible :)

    Sal

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  11. *questions, not sections

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  12. Also, do you wait 10 min or so for the yeast to get foamy when you add it to the water or not, just dissolved?

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  13. Walaikum Salaam Sal,

    I imagine bread flour would actually work better, but I can't speak from experience. I personally use a white whole wheat flour and have been happy with the results. You can add more water as needed, but try not to add more flour unless absolute necessary. The ingredients may look sticky and not completely combined, thats okay.Let it rise and then you can do a couple quick kneads after to bring everything together. That being said, the weather can drastically affect dough consistency so on some days you may need to use more flour/water. Just use your judgment and aim for a semi-sticky dough. Thanks for pointing out the typo, will fix inshallah!

    Hope that helps, let me know how it turns out for you!

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  14. The originally recipe doesn't mention waiting for the yeast to activate, so I did that and it worked for me. If you want to be safe and give it a few minutes to bubble just to make sure your yeast is good, go for it :)

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  15. Thanks for answering all my questions - they just come out, very yummy, but I think I needed to role them even thinner. Thanks!

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  16. Black Jubah, I suggest you try the amounts listed here for your first try and if you do like it, then make a double batch the second time around insha'allah!

    Sal, so happy to hear it!

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  17. Assalamualaikum,

    I am a new reader of your blog - I've never made pretzels before, but I want to try this out now. I wonder if there is a halal cheese sauce available in the market in the US. Otherwise, do you have a homemade cheese sauce recipe using cheese from scratch?

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  18. Made these this morning. I have never made pretzels before but these are by far the best I have ever tasted. Thanks!

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  19. Dania, I try and look for the sauces that have a kosher symbol on it as I haven't found a sauce that has the Halal symbol (only cheese I've found with the 'Halal' symbol is Cabot, don't know of any sauce they make though). If you want, you can always go for dairy-substitute cheese sauces (vegan, soy, etc).

    Anonymous, so happy to hear that and I agree, these are the best pretzels I've ever had too!

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  20. Hello, hope all is well!
    I love your site (and the delicious recipes) and have been following it for some time now!
    I have a question. I tried to make these pretzels twice now, and both times the dough was way too sticky to shape. Even with flouring my hands, they just stuck like crazy. I wound up having great difficulty making anything other than shapeless blobs. I am currently living in Cote d'Ivoire where it is extremely humid all the time, so I thought this may be affecting the results.
    Also, how thinly do you usually shape it, because the dough seems to rise quite a bit upon cooking?
    I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me that may help me make these easier to shape-- because all in my house are big fans of pretzels and would love to eat these!
    Thanks and peace to you!

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Tell me what you think! As always, feedback and reviews are appreciated...happy cooking!