Pretzels anyone?

So I love auntie anne’s pretzels.  If you download the Auntie Anne’s app- you get a free pretzel, so you should do that.  Tonight I really wanted a pretzel.  I did not want to put three children in the car, drive to the mall, walk through the mall with three small children and attempt…well…anything.  I bake a lot in the house, but for some reason, pretzels really scared me- they seemed like a lot of work.

They were a bit of work.  They were SO worth it.  Seriously, be still my heart these are fantastic.

If you feel like making them (they are actually easier to make if you have little people around because the dough is like playdough)- here’s the recipe I would recommend.

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups flour, plus more for kneading (maybe)
2 tablespoons butter (plus more for dipping/drizzling)
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda (you will mix this with 3 cups of water)
2 tablespoons coarse salt

Warm up the milk in a saucepan (or microwave) until it’s between 90 and 110 degrees.  A cooking thermometer is super helpful when working with yeast- but if you don’t have one, 100 degrees feels “a little hot”- is that helpful? I really like scalding water, so…perhaps not.

Pour the hot/warm (depending on your personal temperature gauge) into a bowl. If you have a standing mixer, pour it in that bowl- if not, I’m sorry, they are amazing, and also a regular medium sized mixing bowl will do just fine.

Add the 3 tbsp brown sugar and give it a swirl to dissolve a little.

Add about 2.5 teaspoons (or 1 packet) of yeast to the top of the sugar milk mixture and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Add a cup or so of flour, the teaspoon of regular salt and 2 tablespoons of diced butter.  Stir it around until it’s starting to come together.  Add the rest of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time until it becomes a nice smooth ball of dough.  It should be a little sticky, but not a giant mess. Depending on where you live/other ridiculous conditions, you might need more or less flour.

Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and set it somewhere to let it rise for about an hour (or until doubled in size) I normally place it on top of my running dishwasher to give it a little heat.  A microwave, oven, or your counter also work just fine.

After an hour, punch down your dough and grab your small people- because this part is like playing with playdough.

Preheat your oven to 450

Divide the dough into 6 pieces that are roughly the same size.  No one is judging your dough separating abilities, so just wing it.

Make a long long “snake” with the dough.  You remember this part- roll your hands back and forth on the dough and let it get longer and longer.  If you stop rolling and it starts to shrink back to it’s previous size- let it rest for 10-15 minutes- this is just the gluten activated and it needs to have a little rest.

After you have a super long snake, make a U shape with the pretzel, bring the ends together, twist the top about an inch from the ends, and bring the ends down to touch the base.  Basically, make a pretzel shape, I had to google it because I need pictures.

Take some butter and rub it all over your pan.  Don’t be stingy, if the pretzels stick, you will be sad.

Take 1/3 cup baking soda and 3 cups of warm water- pour them in a shallow dish and mix.  I used a brownie pan and it worked wonderfully.

Dip your perfectly formed (or randomly shaped- I’m not judging) pretzels into the soda water and lay them on the pan.

Cover your pretzels with course salt (or cinnamon/sugar, or anything else, they are your pretzels)

By now you should’ve heard your oven finish pre heating so slide that pan into the oven and set a timer for about 10 minutes.  I left them in for 12 and they were a little too crispy for me- but that’s also my oven and my personal preference.

Take them out of the oven and cover them with melted butter.  I didn’t feel like doing this.  I melted butter in a pan and just dipped bites of pretzel into the butter before eating- it was incredible.

Now feel extremely accomplished because you made pretzels FROM SCRATCH you amazing person! Take pictures and brag to the world about your awesomeness.

Also- guard them closely- my two year old used the time it took me to type this to take a bite off the top of every pretzel. Thoughtful.

Enjoy!

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