Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Extra virgin olive oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, beaten
In a measuring cup, combine warm water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, salt and the butter. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed, and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, approximately 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a second bowl that has been oiled well with olive oil. Cover with damp paper towels, and let sit for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two baking pans with parchment paper, and lightly brush with olive oil.
Bring the 10 cups of water and a baking soda to a rolling boil in a pot.
Meanwhile, place the dough on your work surface. Divide into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24 inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, then cross the ends over each other and press them into the bottom of the U to make the shape of a pretzel.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a flat spatula.
Place the pretzels on the oiled baking pans. Brush the top of each pretzel generously with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with sea salt. You may also sprinkle with herbs of your choice, in this instance, I’m using dried thyme.
Bake until dark brown in color, approximately 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.