Boiling the formed pretzels before baking gives them a chewy interior, like a bagel. The baking soda in the water makes the baked pretzels shine.Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix 2 tablespoons of the warm water with the yeast and let stand until foamy. Add the remaining 1 1/3 cups of warm water along with the sugar and swirl to dissolve the sugar. Add the flour and mix at medium-low speed until a firm, pliable dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes. Roll the dough into a 2-foot-long sausage. Cut the dough into 20 pieces. Cover with plastic and a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch-long rope. To form pretzels, shape each rope into a U; cross the two sides of the U over each other, twist and press the ends down on the pretzel. Arrange the pretzels on a lightly floured surface about 1-inch apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a boil. Add the baking soda. Carefully slide 5 of the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pretzels to a rack to drain right-side up; sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining pretzels, in 3 batches.
Lightly oil 2 baking sheets. Arrange the pretzels on the baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through if necessary, for even baking. Let the pretzels cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with mustard.
The pretzels can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat in a 350° oven before serving.
I've made a ton of soft pretzel recipes but this one is by far the best! Worked great for pretzel dogs, pretzel buns, and pretzel sticks. They darken beautifully and have that legit pretzel flavor and texture. So YUM!