Soft Bagel Style Pretzels
Pretzels take some time and patience, and the results are so worthwhile you will find yourself making these often and the technique perfected. Poaching in the alkaline bath of water and baking soda is the secret to the crusts' chewy texture. We like to sprinkle half the recipe with coarse salt for snacking, and the other with cinnamon sugar for breakfast!
Tip: Shape so that the pretzels are thick, not thin and spindly.
Prep Time: 2 hours with rising time
Cook Time: 30 minutes over two stages
Makes: 12 pretzels
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose wheat flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
2½ tsp (12 mL) 1 - 8g packet of instant rise yeast
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1½ cups (375 mL) warm water (100°F/38°C)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey
½ cup (125 mL) baking soda
1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk
Coarse salt or cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
In a large mixing bowl, or mixer bowl with bread hook, combine the flours, yeast and salt.
In a measuring cup whisk water, canola oil and honey. Slowly add to the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or mixer with dough hook on low until dough is combined and not sticky, a little flour may be added to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or in mixer with dough hook for three minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside and cover with a cloth. Let rise for an hour and a half, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Place oven racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven. Grease two baking sheets. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) long rope. To create the pretzel shape, loop one end over the center of the rope, loop the other end over the center loop, placing on the top of the first loop, forming a heart shape. Remove to baking sheets and rest for 15 minutes, the pretzels will rise slightly.
In a large, non-aluminum pot bring 10 cups (2.5 L) water to a boil. Slowly add baking soda, one large spoonful at a time to prevent the water from foaming over the top. With a slotted spatula carefully lower two pretzels at a time into the boiling water and poach for 30 seconds on each side, gently turning to maintain the shape.
With the slotted spatula. drain pretzel and transfer back to the baking sheet. Brush lightly with milk, and sprinkle with coarse salt, or cinnamon sugar mixture. Complete both pans before placing in the oven.
Place one pan on each rack. Bake for seven minutes, remove, rotate trays and place tray on the alternate oven rack. This will insure even baking. Bake another seven to eight minutes. Pretzels will be evenly browned and shiny.
Cool slightly, and serve warm. Can be stored in a sealed container for two days, or frozen for one month. Reheat in a moderate oven until warm to serve.