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Everything Pretzels

Deep, glossy brown soft pretzels topped with a crusty layer of garlic and onion bits, poppy and sesame seeds and crunchy salt like an everything bagel. Served warm with cold cream cheese, there is, quite simply, nothing better. What a way to kick of National Snack Food Month! Important Note: If you do not have teflon or silicone sheets for your baking pans, be sure to generously spray them with non-stick cooking spray (even if you use parchment paper) as the pretzels WILL stick otherwise.
Author Rebecca Lindamood

Ingredients

Ingredients for dough:

  • 4 cups bread flour 1 pound 1 ounce, by weight
  • 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or sugar preferably
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • 2 teaspoons SAF or instant yeast

Ingredients for pretzel boil:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

Ingredients for toppings:

  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pretzel salt or coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 egg whisked until evenly coloured

Instructions

To Make the Dough by Hand:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, malt powder or sugar and yeast. Set the whisk aside and switch to a sturdy wooden spoon. Stir in the milk and tap water until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a generously floured surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as needed to keep the dough from adhering to the counter. You do not want a firm dough… it should be fairly slack, a little tacky and soft, yet smooth. Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk and puffy, about an hour or so.

To Make the Dough by Stand Mixer:

  1. In the work-bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, salt, malt powder or sugar and yeast. Mix on low just to combine dry ingredients. With mixer still on low, carefully pour in the milk and water. Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough. Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk and puffy, about an hour or so.

To Make the Dough by Bread Machine:

  1. Add the milk, water, flour, malt powder or sugar, and yeast to the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the “Dough” or “Dough Only” cycle and hit start. Allow the cycle to complete.

To Form the Pretzels:

  1. Line three 11×13-inch baking sheets with silicone or teflon pan liners. Set next to your work area.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface.

For Traditional Pretzel Shapes:

  1. Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece like play-dough until you have a snake of dough about the circumference of a Kindergarten pencil (or your index finger.) Lay the snake of dough in a u-shape. Twist the two ends together twice, keeping the base of the "u" open, then fold the twisted ends down onto the base of the "u" and gently press in place. Transfer the pretzels onto the lined baking sheets, being sure to leave generous amounts of room between them. They will expand both as they rise and again as they boil and bake. When you have dealt with all the dough, cover the pans with tea towels and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy looking, about 20 minutes.

To Form Easier Pretzel Rods:

  1. Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 22 equal pieces. Roll each piece like play-dough until you have a snake of dough about the circumference of a Kindergarten pencil (or your index finger.) Transfer the pretzels onto the lined baking sheets, being sure to leave generous amounts of room between them. They will expand both as they rise and again as they boil and bake. When you have dealt with all the dough, cover the pans with tea towels and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy looking, about 20 minutes.

To Cook the Pretzels:

  1. Mix all the topping ingredients together with a fork except for the egg. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enameled cast-iron, tempered glass, etc…) When water boils, add the baking soda. Gently lift the pretzels or pretzel rods one at a time into the boiling water. (You can boil more than one at a time, but be sure not to crowd the the pan as they will expand as they boil. Let simmer for about 45 seconds, flip the pieces and simmer for another 45 seconds-1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to drain and return each piece to its place on the pan. Continue until all pieces have been boiled and returned to the pan.
  4. Brush all pieces of dough with the beaten and sprinkle the topping mixture. Place pans in oven and bake at least until golden brown (at least 18 minutes), but you can bake until they are deep brown which is my preference (closer to 22-24 minutes in my oven.)
  5. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before eating. These are best enjoyed warm, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. They can be quickly reheated prior to serving.