Whenever we go to the mall, we are almost sure to make a pit stop at Auntie Anne’s for a pretzel. But I literally hate going to the mall. I had to come up with a solution, because I need to get my pretzel fix in somehow. All you Auntie Anne’s lovers know what I mean. There’s nothing like a fresh pretzel… and now you can make them at home in your kitchen.
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
Coarse rock salt
7 tablespoons butter, melted
Start by warming the milk in the microwave for 75 seconds. You want the milk to be between 115 and 120 degrees. No higher. (If so, it will kill the yeast.)
Add the yeast and one tablespoon of brown sugar to the warm milk and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and remaining sugar. Add the 2 teaspoons of salt and flour, 1 cup at a time. Kneed the dough for about 10 minutes by hand. (You can do this with a mixer, too.)
Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the warm water and baking soda in a shallow dish. Punch down dough and divide into 14 equal pieces. Lightly flour your surface and roll each piece out, aiming for a “rope” that is the width of your pinky. Cut each “rope” into 1/2 – 1″ pieces, depending on the size you are aiming for.
Dip each piece in the baking soda bath, then set on a towel for about 20 seconds to lightly drain. Lay each piece on a greased baking sheet and let sit for 6 minutes. If the tops of the pretzels have dried out while sitting on the towel, dip your finger in the bath then touch the pretzel to re-wet. (repeat for each pretzel bite, if necessary) Lightly salt each piece with the coarse salt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Brush with melted butter, if necessary.