I found a recipe last week for homemade pretzels and ever since I've been dying to give it a try. I was planning on entertaining myself with this project while Hunter watched the Lakers game today at 12:30pm. But, I was too excited to wait - so I got started on them first thing this morning. This is a really fun and easy project that you can enjoy alone - or let the kiddos join in. On an episode of Good Eats, Alton Brown provides a nice scientific explanation as to why the baking soda and egg are such key components to turning the standard dinner roll dough into a yummy treat.
1 lb frozen bread dough
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup kosher salt (or pretzel salt)
1/3 cup baking soda
5 cups water
1. Let the bread dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Cut the thawed dough into 8 equal parts. Using a small amount of flour, roll the dough pieces with your hands into 24 inch ropes. Form each rope into a pretzel shape by making a "U" with the rope then twisting the two loose ends around each other once. Let the pretzels rest for 30 minutes.
3. Bring 5 cups of water and 1/3 cup of baking soda to a boil in a deep skillet. Once it reaches a rolling boil, drop the pretzels in and boil on each side for 30 seconds. When you remove the pretzels from the water, place them on a cooling rack so the excess water can drain away. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees as the pretzels drain.
4. Once the pretzel bottoms are no longer soggy, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mix one egg yolk with 1 Tbsp of water and brush onto the pretzels. Sprinkle salt or whatever other toppings you want onto your pretzels at this time (think cinnamon-sugar or garlic butter...)
5. Bake the pretzels for 15 minutes, turning once during the cooking process. Let the pretzels cool enough to handle and then enjoy!