“well, i like pretzel day.”
pretzels remind me of two things: 1) stanley hudson and his love for pretzel day and 2) going to the mall with my parents as a kid.
one- if you haven’t noticed yet, i love the office. so much that I have a whole instagram page dedicated to Office quotes on baked goods. Plugging in @michaelscottbakingco right now. There’s a tab up top and it’s hyperlinked about 13 words to the left here.
two- growing up, my family would go to the mall almost every weekend. It wasn’t necessarily to go shopping; it was moreso to just walk around. But if there’s one thing we were guaranteed to buy, it was a pretzel, either a regular pretzel without the pretzel salt, or a cinnamon sugar pretzel. I recently reminisced on this when I was at my local mall and bought pretzel bites from Wetzel’s. I made the pretzels you see here the following week.
So, everything pretzels.
My original intention was to dunk the pretzels in butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over them. Buuuutt given the amount of sweet things on this blog, I went the savory route and dumped Everything Bagel seasoning over the pretzels. Everything bagel seasoning is basically a blend of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and salt. Make your own (google can help you there), or do what I did and pick up a bottle at Trader Joe’s.
anyways, as with all yeasted dough recipes, these pretzels still take a couple hours to put together because of the rise time, but be patient! before you bake them off, there’s an additional step of dunking the pretzels in boiling water with baking soda. It’s weird, but this step is actually what gives pretzels their chewy texture and taste. fun fact: it’s the same process with bagels!
aaaand what you get is a soft pretzel, somehow fluffy and chewy at the same time. basically, this everything pretzel is everything you’d ever want from a soft pretzel. everything seasoning everything pretzel everything this everything that! totally worth it, and you don’t have to wait 365 days til the next pretzel day. (poor stanley.)
baker’s notes: i really liked these with the everything pretzel seasoning, but feel free to experiment with other flavors too! I’d imagine garlic salt would be a good one, along with cinnamon sugar + melted butter. yum.
also, step-by-step pretzel formation photos above!!
adapted from Alton Brown
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
(I used rapid rise, but active dry works too)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 22 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup baking soda
5 cups water
1 egg yolk, beaten with a teaspoon of water
everything bagel seasoning blend (i used TJ’s)
in a small bowl, stir together the warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast. let it sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture gets foamy. Stir in the butter.
add the flour to a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer, if using). pour in the yeast mixture, and start mixing until well-combined. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl (about 4-5 minutes with a dough hook). It may take a bit longer to do this if you’re doing it by hand, but just imagine you’re building muscles. Knead the dough until the dough is tacky, but not sticky, and you’re able to form a smooth ball.
oil a separate large bowl. take your kneaded dough, shape it into a ball, and place it in the oiled bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, then a damp warm kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
once you’re ready to work with your dough, preheat the oven to 450 f. prepare two half-sheet pans lined with parchment paper, and set aside.
turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. make u-shape with the rope, cross and twist the ends, and fold over. press down slightly to keep them in place. (see photos above for this formation process!) place the formed pretzels on the lined baking sheets.
in a large saucepan, bring the 5 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil. place the pretzels into the boiling baking soda-water, one at a time, for 30 minutes. remove the pretzel from the water (gently because they’re really soft), and return it to the same lined pan. the parchment paper will likely be wrinkly, but ‘tis okay! repeat this step until all the pretzels have had their baking soda bath.
brush each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk-water mixture. sprinkle each pretzel with the everything bagel seasoning.
bake the pretzels for about 12-14 minutes, until they’re a dark, golden brown color. let them cool slightly, and then enjoyy!! p.s. they’re best when warm!