German Soft Pretzels
Homemade soft pretzels. AKA the Holy Grail of impressing your friends and family. I had made pretzels before, but this recipe is the absolute best and my non-vegan family agrees. They were crisp and pillowy and salty and amazing. Did I mention I love pretzels? Just try these. There’s nothing else I can tell you, you need to taste for yourself.
PS. Don’t forget the mustard.
PPS. Tag me in your pics when you twist these bad boys up! @Veggie.Passport and #veggiepassport.
GERMAN SOFT PRETZELS
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 ½ tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling
½ cup baking soda
8 cups water
Assorted mustards, for serving
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast in a large bowl and mix to combine. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast) and melted vegan butter. Stir to incorporate and then use your hands to knead everything into a smooth dough. You may need to add a bit more water to help the ingredients hold together.
- Wipe out your mixing bowl and coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes (it won’t rise much or at all during this time).
- While the dough is resting, you can prepare a warm spot for the pretzels to rise. Simply heat your oven to 200F degrees and then turn it off. The interior temperature of your oven will lower to around 85 degrees F by the time you’re ready to let the formed pretzels rest in there.
- Lightly coat two baking sheets with oil and set them next to your work surface. Divide the pretzel dough into 10 equal parts, then use your hands to roll each piece on your countertop into ropes, about 20 inches long. Work from the middle of the dough and press outwards to get it the length you want. You shouldn’t need to flour your work surface. If your dough is slipping around while you try to roll it, wet a paper towel and lightly dampen the countertop. The water will provide some friction.
- To form a pretzel shape, make the letter “U” with a dough rope. With either end of the rope in your fingertips, cross the rope over itself twice (like a braid) and then fold them down onto the bottom curve of the pretzel. *This video is helpful if you need a visual, like I did.* You can use a little bit of water to make the ends stick to the bottom of the pretzel.
- Repeat with each piece of dough, transferring the pretzels to the baking sheet as you go. When you’ve shaped each pretzel, pop the baking sheets in the warm oven (it should be turned off at this point) until the dough doubles in size, about 10 minutes.
- Once the pretzels have risen, place them in the fridge for about an hour, uncovered. *This step isn’t mandatory, but chilling the dough will help build a skin that will absorb the dipping solution better and make that delicious shiny, crisp crust. Skipping this step will make the pretzels dough-ier.*
- While the pretzels are in the fridge, prepare your dipping solution. Combine the baking soda and water in a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Preheat your oven to 390F degrees. After an hour, remove the pretzels from your fridge and carefully drop them, one at a time, into the pot of boiling water. Use a spoon to gently press down and submerge each pretzel (they’ll want to float). Wait 10 seconds, and then lift each pretzel out of the water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. While the pretzels are still wet, sprinkle with the coarse salt.
- Bake until the pretzels are golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack or cutting board to prevent them from getting too crisp on the bottom. Enjoy as-is or with a side of mustard for dipping (I recommend an assortment of mustards, because mustard is amazing).
Recipe adapted from Well Vegan.