"I've always been a fan of any food high in salt and starch," Grant Achatz says, "and soft pretzels right out of the oven are awesome." You can eat these slightly sweet, chewy, dark pretzel sticks plain or with mustard; Achatz goes for ranch dressing.
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1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Flaky salt, such as Maldon
Yellow mustard, for serving
How to Make It
In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into 2 cups of warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable oil and 3 cups of the flour. Knead in the remaining 2 3/4 cups of flour; the dough will be slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until silky, about 3 minutes; if the dough is very sticky, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour. Transfer the dough to an large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough lightly, flatten it out and cut it into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a 9-inch stick about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the sticks to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Let stand uncovered until puffed, about 25 minutes.
In a large, deep skillet, stir the baking soda into 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate. Using 2 slotted spoons, carefully transfer 6 pretzel sticks at a time to the simmering water 30 seconds, turning once; add about 1 cup of hot water after before cooking the second batch of pretzels. Transfer the pretzel sticks to paper towels to drain, then return them to the cookie sheets, spacing them evenly.
Brush the pretzel sticks with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with mustard.
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Review Body: These are so much better - chewier and more authentic - when made with food grade lye microbeads available on-line! I made the Peter Reinhardt Bavarian pretzels as well.
Date Published: 2016-11-18
Author Name: Kerrinmike
Review Body: I used lard instead of veggie oil.....I only use lard from our pigs an oh my these were delicious, but you MUST boil them in lye water, it's all the difference in the world!!!!
Review Rating: 5
Date Published: 2017-07-30
Author Name: Dan Messina
Review Body: I made two batches - one boiled as directed and one not boiled. The boiled batch is more fluffy inside like a ballpark pretzel. I noticed that the one that are slightly larger are more moist inside...a bigger pretzel could be really soggy. The non-boiled batch, while still tasty, are more like a salty breadstick than a pretzel. Still good but lacks that familiar, fluffy texture. Some users reported they had a very wet dough. I found that I needed 3.5 cups to the initial mixture with an additional half cup for kneading although it's humid today which has an impact. I also used raw sugar rather than brown sugar...still tasty.
Overall, a good taste.
Review Rating: 3
Date Published: 2017-06-11
Author Name: angeline simpson
Review Body: I haven't tried the finished product myself, but the boys love them!! My only issue while making them was how they looked at the end...but I assume the more I make them, the better outcome I will have! All in all, it's great! Easy to follow instructions, for a newbie like myself and obviously they taste great too! Thank you!!!!
Date Published: 2016-12-28
Author Name: Jonathan Wilson
Review Body: I love these. I want to buy some lye and try them with that, but fresh out of the oven they are amazing. I like them even better than my attempt at the AB soft pretzel recipe. Is it possible to make that 'fresh out of the oven' crunchiness last? They get soft when i package them.
Review Rating: 5
Date Published: 2017-09-16
Author Name: Fuzzytop
Review Body: There seem to be some typos in the recipe - "after before cooking" for instance; and are we supposed to boil the pretzels for only 30 seconds ?
As to lye - it's very dangerous stuff, food grade or not. Caustic and damaging to tissue - get it in your eye and you'll be in for a world of hurt, and very likely blindness.
Date Published: 2018-04-30
Author Name: Knorris
Review Body: This recipe did not come out well at all! Took forever and was a huge gooey mess! After boiling the pretzels in simmering water they where just goo then they cooked wrong. Only part of the dough cooked no matter how long they cooked parts in the middle remained uncooked. Huge waste of time.
Review Rating: 3
Date Published: 2016-08-21
Author Name: Maddie Avolio
Review Body: Oh my goodness were these a disappointment! Never use this recipe! Honestly, it's a huge waste of time! I spent 3 hours making these and they turned out to be vile and soggy.
First, the flour amount they call for is way off. They warn that the dough may be slightly sticky and that you can add up to 1/4th cup more. I needed much, much more than that, because my dough was a pile of gluey goo (I followed the recipe perfectly). Perhaps they scooped flour instead of pouring it to measure? They should've specified if they were using an abnormal method of measuring, but the amount they called for was nowhere near enough. Then, when it was time to cook the sticks, the directions are very vague and don't give you an idea of how the sticks should look. I tried doing 15 seconds, flipping, then 15 more seconds. They were soft and gooey - falling apart. So, instead, I tried 30 seconds, flip, 30 seconds. This was better but still soft, and I was very unsure if they should be cooked more or not, but I didn't go over 1 minute per stick because the recipe said a vague "30 seconds". Finally, baking took longer than 10 minutes even using convection bake, which is usually faster. The results were 24 massive pretzels that tasted awful, bland, yet bitter (and the next morning they were horrendously soggy). I couldn't eat even one and dumped all the rest in the compost bin. Huge waste of time and ingredients. BTW - I wish I'd halved the recipe; 24 9 inch long pretzel sticks is a LOT of pretzel.
Review Rating: 1
Date Published: 2017-05-24
Author Name: Bittersweeter
Review Body: Don't use the baking soda in the water to simmer the dough in...it has a reaction and causes a greenish hue on the underside of the dough once baked and it has a very bitter taste from the baking soda.