1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 Tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 Tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
4- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Edit: I recently made these using half whole-wheat flour and added 2 Tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to help with the consistency, and they were the best ones yet!)
3- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
an additional 10 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
Pretzel salt or other seasoning as desired
Directions & Notes:
1. In a large bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups warm water with the sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and wait about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam.
2. Add the wheat germ (if using), the olive oil, and the all-purpose flour (one cup at a time), mixing until well combined.
3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to sit in a warm place (top of the oven, warm kitchen counter, etc.) for 50-55 minutes.
4. When the 50-55 minutes are almost over:
- preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or spray with cooking spray, then set aside.
- fill a saucepan with 10 cups of water and the baking soda and begin to bring to a boil.
- beat the egg yolk and teaspoon of water together in a small bowl.
5. After the dough has finished rising, turn it onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and then shape into a pretzel shape (or other desired shape).
6. Place the pretzels one by one into the boiling baking soda water for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a slotted spatula, and place them on the oiled baking sheet.
7. Brush the pretzels with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with salt. I use large rock salt that can be purchased in the local supermarket, then pulse it briefly in my food processor to make it a little smaller.
Serving Estimate: Makes 8 large soft pretzels.
Austin’s Endorsement: “Mmm, tasty! I ate two of these today and could have eaten ten more. Really stinkin’ good pretzels!”