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Preface: Yes. I have heard of Auntie Anne’s.

I have a terrible fear of anything made with dough. Yet, I love all the things that come from dough. Bread, bread, bread, rolls, bread. When I saw the Master Dough (make it 6 different ways!) article in April’s Bon Appetit, I thought what the hell, lets give it a whirl. The worst that happens is I’m out a packet of yeast and a stick of butter. The best that happens is warm yummy pretzels in my kitchen.

The result: the latter. These pretzels are so tasty, I’m writing this post less than 24 hours later and there are only 2 left. Because the dough is sweet to begin with next time I make them I’m going to salt them instead of sugar them on top. I have a feeling the sweet and salty combination will be out of this world. Once again, Bon Appetit proves to me that the extra time in the kitchen is worth the effort. But I still haven’t forgiven them for the Gwyneth Paltrow issue.

Now, go make yourself some pretzels!!! And I 150% recommend letting your kids help you shape the dough into pretzels.

Bon Appetit’s Sweet Pretzels

Oh yeast, the beginning to so many happy endings.

  • 2/3 Cup whole milk
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 3/4 teasp. yeast (one packet)
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teasp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into one inch pieces and at room temp
  • 2 eggs, at room temp
  • 1 egg white
  • 6 Tbsp. pearl sugar ( I just used raw)
  • flour for sprinkling
  1. In a saucepan or in the microwave, heat milk to 110-115 degrees. Transfer to a two cup measuring cup and stir in one tablespoon of sugar, sprinkle yeast over the top and whisk until mixed. Let stand until top becomes foamy, appx. 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add flour, salt and remaining sugar to the bowl of stand mixer, stir. Attach your dough hook.
  3. When the yeast has foamed up, add the two room temp. eggs to the milk and whisk until smooth. Add to mixer bowl with flour, turn on the mixer to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time. Mix VERY well after each addition (don’t get antsy). Mix on medium one more minute, then knead for 5 minutes until dough is soft and silky.
  4. Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter, place dough in bowl and butter top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the dough is doubled in size.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl, divide into twelve equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, form a rope that is 17 inches long. Form your pretzel, place on parchment lined baking sheet.  After you have made all the pretzels, loosely cover them and let them puff up for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Mix 1 egg white with 2 tsp. water and brush over pretzels, sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp. raw/pearl sugar or salt. Bake pretzels for 10 minutes, rotate pans around and up and down in oven, bake 6-8 more minutes.
  7. Devour.

Yeast: before and after. If your yeast doesn't foam up, toss it and try again. You may have a bad packet, or the milk may have been too warm (that can kill the yeast).

This is more or less how you form a pretzel. And you know how you see the sullen teenager at Auntie Anne's slapping the dough on the counter to help stretch it? That actually works.

Be generous with your egg wash (it makes them crispy) and with your salt or sugar. I didn't use 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar on each pretzel because I thought that sounded like too much, but really, it would have been ok. You know, because too much sugar is not a thing we ever worry about around here.

You can almost smell how good they are through the computer screen? Can't you?