tasty tuesday: soft pretzels

Is there any smell that tops fresh baked bread?  Or in this case fresh baked pretzels?

The correct answer is no....or at least it is 99% if the time.  Take it from me.  
Now, these have been a family classic for a looong time thanks to Jordyn.  She just has a knack for finding and creating wonderful things.  And these are perfect for movie nights, games nights, or basically any night!

The only thing that keeps me from making these every single night is that they take so long! Let's just say that I am not a patient person.  At all.  Especially when it comes to food.  
I'm forever pestering Jordyn whenever she makes them....saying "I don't think they have to rise that much do you?  Are they done now?  Can we just bake the dang things yet?".   I usually try and distract myself while they're rising so that I'm not peeking under the towel every five minutes to see if they're ready.  Yeah.  Patience.  Gotta work on that.  Must make more pretzels?  That sounds legit.

Soft Pretzels
Yields: ~12 pretzels

Yeast Mixture:
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup of warm water (you want it hot, but not boiling!)
2 1/4 tsp yeast

[In a small bowl, stir these ingredients together, and then let it rise for about 10 minutes.]

4 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp of salt

1)  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, water and salt.
2)  Then add your yeast mixture, and mix.
3)  Knead your dough on a floured surface until it feels "right" (about 30-40 times.....once you've made these a few times you'll have a better feel for what "right" feels like!).
4) Now place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a dish towel.  (It's best to place your bowl in a warm area, such as a patch of sunlight, or in the oven with the light on.  Let it rise for about an hour.)
5) Cut your dough into 12 equal pieces, roll and shape into a pretzel, and let rise for another 45 minutes.
[Optional]:  If you want a salted pretzel, brush the tops of your pretzels lightly with an egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt.
6)  Cook in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Now it's time to knead it!  Make sure you sprinkle down some flour on your counter before you dump your dough out, otherwise it will stick!  Add a teeny bit of flour if your dough is really sticky.

Once your dough is all kneaded, you pop it in a bowl to rise!  And do your best to not sit there and stare at it until it's done...

Once it's finally done, you get to shape it into whatever you want!
We cut ours into 12 equal pieces, roll them each out like a snake, and then twist them into a pretzel shape.

Not pictured are the pretzels covered by a towel to rise again.  Probably because I was too impatient...

If you don't have (or don't eat) eggs, you can always substitute for plain water. Your pretzels won't get as brown and crunchy on the outside, but they'll still be delicious!

Now please don't be intimidated just because there's yeast in the dough and because you have to knead it and let it let it rise...blah blah blah.  This recipe is seriously forgiving no matter your skill level.  I don't think we've ever had a bad batch of pretzels, and sometimes the dough looks WEIRD, or doesn't really rise.  But you know what?  When hot and fresh pretzels come out of the oven they always taste good. Always.

Make these for your next movie night and impress your friends!

p.s.  β™₯ kelsey