Sunday, January 13, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzel Sticks

Have you seen those Sonic commercials with the two guys in the car...the one guy has a notebook of all the times his mind has been blown?

Well, my mind isn't usually blown at Sonic but there are a few stick-out mind blowing moments in my life.

No moment was as mind blowing as the first time I made these homemade soft pretzel sticks. I expected complete failure and a prompt trip to the mall for some Auntie Anne's. Boy, was I (happily) wrong.

When they came out of the oven, I think I almost cried tears of joy. They are lovely golden brown, puffy pillows of soft pretzel bliss.

I think the worst part of this recipe is the waiting...waiting for the yeast to activate, waiting for the dough to rise, waiting for them to bake.

The best part is the eating. These pretzels are so delicious I actually had to hide the leftovers from myself. I knew that I couldn't be trusted to not sit on the couch and eat the whole batch. It's good I know myself so well.

Ok, let's talk pretzel.

Start by combining a package of dry active yeast to the bowl of your brand spanking new Kitchenaide mixer along with brown sugar, melted butter and warm water. Mix it with a dough hook and let it rest.

Once activated, it will look something like this:

After 5 minutes, add in the salt and the flour, in batches. The dough will start to pull away from the bowl.

Knead the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl greased with canola oil. Cover it with a clean towel. This is when the first treacherous waiting period begins...1 hour. Let it rise.

Just before the hour is up, a large stockpot is filled with 3 quarts of water and 3/4 cups of baking soda and brought to a boil.

Now is the fun part. Cut your dough in half and gently tear off large pieces. Roll them between your hands to create evenly sized logs. Try to be as precise as possible, but because we are humans a little bit of error is fine.

Or get crazy and make actual pretzels. I had a giggle fit after I made this...

Each of the sticks go for a bath in the pot of water and baking soda, for no longer than 30 seconds!

Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush each pretzel with an egg wash...sprinkle on some salt.

To a 400 degree oven they go!

And then...2 tablespoons of melted butter...mixed with garlic powder, onion powder, and a little more salt. The hot hot hot pretzels get brushed with butter.

Your knees will probably go weak at this point.

These are best served immediately hot and fresh out of the oven. You can serve them as is or alongside some good Dijon or honey mustard. However, leftovers will last well wrapped for about three days. I recommend giving them a quick heat-up in a 200 degree oven!

If you want to be the star of your Super Bowl party, these pretzels are a wonderful option. They are soft yet crunchy, salty and buttery and totally swoon worthy.

Here's what you need* for Soft Pretzel Sticks:

1 package active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water 
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon or so of canola oil (can also use vegetable)
3 quarts (12 cups) water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Additional salt, garlic powder, and onion powder for topping

Here's what you do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast, 6 tablespoons of butter, sugar, and warm water. Mix gently until combined. Allow the yeast to sit for about 5 minutes to activate.

Add in the salt and 1 cup of flour. Turn the mixer on low and gradually add in the remaining flour in batches. You may have to increase the speed slightly to combine the flour thoroughly. If the dough seems a little wet, add up to 1/2 cup more flour in small batches. NOTE: the dough will be fairly sticky regardless.

When the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough into a ball and place in a bowl greased well with canola oil. Turn it to be sure the entire surface is greased in the oil, Cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm area for one hour.

In the meantime, bring 3 quarts of water and the baking soda to a boil in a large stockpot.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

When the dough has finished rising, cut it in half and gently tear away evenly sized pieces. Roll between your hands to create logs. Drop each log into the baking soda bath, turning once. Remove after 30 seconds using a slotted spoon and transfer to the lined baking sheets. Be sure to keep the pretzels about 2 inches apart.

Create an egg wash by mixing together the egg and cold water. Brush each stick generously with the egg wash.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tops are slightly cracked and golden brown.

As soon as the pretzels come out of the oven, brush them with a mixture of melted butter and your preferred seasonings. Serve immediately.

I couldn't believe how easy these were to make. While it does take a while from start to finish, the end product is so worth it! With the added touch of garlic and onion powder, these are an amazing treat to spoil yourself with.

*Recipe adapted from Lee Cooks


  1. try this recipe for hard pretzels next:

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