In high school, the Renaissance Faire was something I looked forward to every summer. Walking on the dusty paths with a dried floral wreath in my hair and passing the traditional booths selling their wares, I couldn’t wait for the food…and there was some good food!
What I remember most were the soft pretzels. We’d brave the heat searching the fields for the lady carrying hooks and pegs, all loaded with the huge salty twisted knots!
Best when smeared with mustard, these doughy delights can be made any size. Whether miniature or grand, make plenty, because the Renaissance Faire won’t be in town for several months and the pretzel shop at the mall…no comparison!For a yummy delight try Sir Kensington’s Spicy Brown Mustard…see, there’s even a picture of a pretzel on the label!
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached, mix the milk, yeast and both sugars.
Add the flour, salt and butter and mix for about 2 minutes until the dough starts comes together.
Increase the speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes, pausing to pull down the dough off the hook. 10 minutes if kneading by hand.
Oil a large bowl. Set aside.
Gather dough into a ball and place it into prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft-free area to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment, and set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan.
Transfer dough to flat work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, keep the rest covered with a kitchen towel so it won't dry out.
Working from the center of each piece of dough, roll the into a long rope about 2 feet by ½ inch wide.
Lift each end and lift up to create a "U".
Cross the 2 ends twice, like a twist, and lower the ends of the dough back down towards the bottom to create the pretzel shape. Press ends lightly to stick.
Place the pretzels on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Slowly lower the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds
Remove them from the water using a flat spatula. I blotted them quickly onto a paper towel to soak up a bit of the water. Return back to the cookie sheet.
Brush with mixture of egg yolk and water and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. You'll love the smell!!!
Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite mustards or dipping sauces.
Recipe adapted from a combination of delushious.com and Alton Brown foodnetwork.com.
• Freeze any leftover pretzels in a freezer plastic bag or freezer safe container. Thaw before reheating in a 350ºF oven.
• Roll ropes of dough in cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat.
• Instead of sprinkling with kosher salt, try sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds or Parmesan cheese.
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