For some reason, my brain thinks anything bread-like is hard. But these came together super easily.
Because I can’t ever make up my mind between wanting a salty pretzel or a sweet one, I split the dough and made both,
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces flour
2 ounces butter, melted + some for brushing
10 cups water + 1 table spoon
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 cinnamon stick
1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the salt, one table spoon sugar, and active dry yeast. Make sure you have a dough hook attachment installed.
2. Add the warm water, stir gently to dissolve. Leave alone for the yeast to wake up, about 5 minutes.
3. It should start being a bit foamy and bubbling.
4. Add the two ounces of melted butter and the flour.
5. Turn on to speed 1 and mix to combine.
6. Increase the speed to 2 and knead until it pulls away from the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
7. Remove from bowl and hook. Clean the bowl and lightly oil the surface. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Allow to proof for 55 minutes in a warm place with no draft (inside the cold oven with the light turned on is good).
8. While the yeast is doing its thing, grind the cinnamon stick and combine with the half a cup of sugar. Combine the baking soda and 10 cups of water in a large soup pot. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl with a table spoon of water.
Clean the kitchen. Anything, you have 55 minutes to wait.
9. Once the dough has doubled in size, set up a shaping station. For easier shaping, the surface should be lightly oiled. Turn the oven on to 450F.
You’ll need to cut the dough into 8 parts. Roll each part into a rope and fold into a pretzel shape.
10. To make the shape: make a horseshoe shape with the dough, open end facing you. Twist the ends over each other. Flip the twisted bit into the middle of the circle, reshaping the circle if required, then push the ends into the edges. It took me a few tries to get it right. They taste good when misshapen anyway.
11. I was running out of hands so no pictures of this… Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil. Drop each pretzel into the alkaline solution for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking tray.
Brush the salty pretzels with the beaten egg yolk, and sprinkle coarse salt over them.
12. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
13. For the sweet ones, brush melted butter over the baked pretzels, then toss in the prepared cinnamon sugar.