Madison's Soft Pretzels

These Bavarian-style soft pretzels are a crowd favourite and will make your guests very happy. If you want to make these as small pretzel bites, just cut them into two-inch pieces instead of rolling them into a pretzel shape. I've included helpful tips in the instructions to aid you in the whole process. 


Ingredients:  
For the pretzels: 
7g (2 ¼) teaspoons dried, fast-acting yeast 
350(1 ½ cups) tepid water 
540g (4 ½ cups) plain flour 
2 tablespoons agave nectar 
85(6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted 
4 tablespoons butter flavoured vegetable shortening, melted 
½ teaspoons kosher salt 
vegetable or corn oil
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water 
Coarse sea salt 

For the pretzel bath: 
litres (12 cups) water 
120g (½ cup) bicarbonate of soda  


Yield: Makes 8 large pretzels 
Prep: Liberally oil a large baking tray with non-stick cooking spray, or line the baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Bake: 220 C /425 F /Gas 7 for 14-17 minutes 

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Method: 
1. In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine the tepid water, yeast, melted butter, and agave. Using a dough hook, mix with a whisk until just combined. Let it sit for 5 minutes. *(Tip: The yeast will bubble up, this is a good sign, it means your yeast is working.)  
2. Next, add the flour and salt to the mixer, and on low speed mix together until blended. Increase the speed to medium, then continue kneading the dough mixture until it's smooth and begins to pull away from the mixing bowl, about 3 minutes. *(Tip: If your dough looks too wet, add a bit more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away.) 
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean work surface, and knead dough into a ball. *Tip: Make a fist with your left hand, and press it firmly into the dough, do the same with your right hand, alternating each hand. (Knead the dough the length of time it takes you to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice).
4. In a large mixing bowl, oil the inside of the bowl with vegetable oil, make sure to also coat the sides of the bowl. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and turn the dough over to coat the other side with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and place it in a dry warm area to rest for 1 hour. This allows the dough to proveand it should double in volume. 
5. Remove the dough from the bowl, then place it on a clean flat work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. One by one, roll each piece into the shape of a long pole or rope with your hands, about 28cm-33cm (or 11"-13"). Next, form a pretzel shape with each piece and place it on the prepared baking tray. Put the tray in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes (This will make it easier to dip them in the water bath in Step 8.). 
6. Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F
7. In a large pot or mid-size pan, bring 3 litres of water to a boil. Very slowly and carefully, pour in the bicarbonate of soda.  
8. Remove the tray of pretzels from the freezer. Using a large ladle or flat slotted spoon, dip each pretzel one by one in the boiling water to give them a bath for about 15 seconds. Remove from the water and drain, then place each pretzel on the prepared baking tray. Do not let the pretzels touch each other.  
9. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the beaten egg wash and generously add the coarse salt on top. Bake in the oven for 14-17 minutes or until golden brown 
10.  Remove from the oven. Dip the pretzels or carefully use a pastry brush to dab each pretzel generously with the melted butter-flavoured shortening. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let the pretzels sit for at least 5 minutes before eating. Serve with honey mustard sauce or spicy cheese sauce. Enjoy! 

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For the GLUTEN-FREE version: Yield: makes 8 medium palm-size pretzels 
To make this recipe gluten-free, follow all the directions stated above with ingredients listed except, replace the following: 
The plain flour amount use 244g (2 cups) plain gluten-free flour, or a pizza dough blend and use 57g (4 tablespoons) unsalted melted butter, use only 3 tablespoons butter flavoured melted shortening, and for the boiling water amount for the pretzel bath, only use about 2 litres (8 cups).



This is an original recipe by Madison of FASHION TALES BLOG.  
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