I am in love with this recipe. In love. I am a huge fan of Wetzel's Pretzels and I think this homemade version tastes so much like them! Sure mine weren't as pretty (I should have made my dough ropes longer) but dang they tasted SO good. Especially hot from the oven with the melted butter... I'm not sure knowing how to make these at home is the best thing for me. I will seriously have to limit how often I make them! But I did run the numbers and figured out that each pretzel has about 186 calories, so hey that's not so bad (of course that's all refined carbohydrates, but I'm not going to think about that right now). I got this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
-makes 8 pretzels
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (I used just under 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 cup hot water
4 tablespoons baking soda
coarse salt (I used Kosher salt)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Combine ingredients for dough in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with a dough hook until well combined. Mix on medium speed with dough hook for 5 minutes, until dough is soft, and smooth (you can adjust flour added for your climate - dough should pull away from sides of bowl). Remove dough from mixer, form into a ball and lightly flour. Place dough into a gallon size ziplock bag leaving room for dough to expand. (Or place in a greased bowl covered with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap.) Let it rest and rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with parchment paper.
Transfer dough to a lightly greased surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Allow pieces to rest uncovered for 5 minutes. While dough is resting combine 1 cup hot water and baking soda in a shallow bowl or pie plate, make sure baking soda is thoroughly dissolved.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin, rope (seriously, I didn't do them long enough - they need to be about 24-28 inches long or they will end up all pudgy like mine :)). Twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda solution and place them on greased baking sheets (dab the underside with a paper towel quickly as you put them on baking sheets so baking soda solution doesn't puddle and burn). Sprinkle with coarse salt. Allow to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
Bake pretzels for 7-9 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Remove pretzels from oven and brush each pretzel repeatedly with melted butter, that's what gives them their great mall pretzel taste. Eat pretzels warm or reheat in oven or microwave.
*Can also dip baked pretzels in cinnamon sugar after buttering. Yum.