Outside of quarantine life, you come to expect a few things. One of the things I have come to accept was that for her birthday every year, my best friend has a party and margaritas are involved. Not. This. Year. So I had to act fast and think of something I could make for her that would show her 'Hey girl, I listened to you that one time you said you liked this one thing'. I went through a list of her top likes; mustard (both the colour and the condiment), pretzels, hot sauce and The Office, and came up with soft pretzels with hot mustard dip.
So Taylor, It Is Your Birthday and also Happy Pretzel Day.
1 ½ cup water (warm)
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 package active dry yeast
2 tsp. Salt
625 grams all-purpose flour, approx. 4 ½ cups
1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
Vegetable oil (for pan)
½ cup baking soda
1 egg (yolk only)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, activate your yeast in sugar and warm water until it’s light and frothy (about 5 minutes). Then add the flour, salt and melted butter and mix on low using the dough hook attachment. Once it’s well combined, turn the speed up to medium and knead until all of the dough pulls away from the sides. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it in plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour.
Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 450℉. At this time you can also bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your baking soda. Line your baking sheets (you may need 2) with parchment paper and brush with oil to prevent sticking.
In the meantime, separate your dough into 8 equal pieces. I like to weigh them out so I know they’re all the exact same size. Roll out each piece into a long rope. I noticed that I had the most success with this when I rolled them on an unfloured surface. This dough is also very elastic and bounces back quickly which is harder if it's sticking to the counter just a tiny bit. I also did 2 rounds of rope rolling. Roll out one of your dough balls into a rope, then move on to the next. Finish all the dough balls, then come back to your first rope and do a second roll. Sometimes dough just needs to rest and relax for a minute to reach it's full rolling potential.
To fold into a pretzel shape, make a U shape, then grab each end, cross them over each other and press them into the bottom of the U shape (see video below if you need a visual). Once you’ve folded your pretzel, place it on the baking sheet and continue folding the rest of your pretzels.
One at a time, carefully lower your pretzels into the water and boil for 30 seconds. If you want to make sure you evenly boil them, boil on one side for 15 seconds, then flip and repeat. You don’t want to boil these for any longer or they will come out with a metallic taste.
Once they’re all boiled and back on the sheet pans, egg wash the tops (with the yolk only for that classic pretzel colour) and sprinkle with coarse salt. You can use pretzel salt, Maldon Sea Salt or kosher salt, whichever you prefer.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until dark golden brown, then transfer to a cooling rack until you’re ready to dig in. Eating these warm and fresh is best.
Serve with a nice cheese dip or fancy mustard. I like hot prepared mustard best.
If you're more of a visual person, check out the video below illustrating the recipe step-by-step with tips and tricks peppered in. Video Length: 2:46