Call me crazy, but I love working with a good yeast dough. There’s just something about having that intuition in knowing if the dough is going to rise (sometimes it it’s more of a frustration feeling but, you win some you lose some) and when the dough is just right and for rolling out. Case in point, these everything soft pretzel knots for example, I actually made this dough twice. The first time I over worked the dough and realized it just wasn’t rising, no matter how many times I took a peek at it and the second, finally achieving fluffy dough success. When I pulled the pan of golden brown pretzels out of the oven, I literally fist pumped and yelled to my husband ‘Look at how good these look!’, deeming them a success since they were pillowy on the inside and the best kind of crunchy/loaded with spices on the outside. For me, conquering the battle of not killing the yeast/not overworking the dough and finally getting the knot shape that didn’t look like a weird blob was a fist-pumping worthy success in itself. I promptly rewarded myself with 2 pretzel knots and an old fashioned, as you do on a spring-y Sunday afternoon.
Homemade soft pretzels kind of intimidated for a while, probably because I assumed it was going to be an exhausting and fruitless effort, filled with me getting hangry and have too much flour all over the flour that I would inevitably have to sweep up. The key to making soft pretzel knots is to a.) start before you are actually hungry and b.) be patient! First of all, if you start when you are already hungry, it’s just all downhill from there because by the time the dough rises and you form each piece into a perfect knot shape, you’re halfway to ‘I’m going to kill someone for a snack’ and nothing can quite quell that amount of hunger. That being said, this is a perfect Sunday afternoon project for that time between eating too much brunch and not knowing what to eat before you have to eat a real dinner. Also, don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long ingredient and prep list, they are things you probably already have on hand skills you most definitely already know how to do. Rule of thumb for working with yeast dough: always leave more time and always eat the fruits of your labor right away. Fresh pretzels= the best pretzels. The tops of these soft pretzel knots are loaded with a homemade everything spice mix, chock full of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, garlic powder and the best large grain salt for pretzel topping purposes. Needless to say, I’m always the one picking the everything bagel out of the box of dozen at work, give me all that flavor!
- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 7 1/4 Quart Dutch Oven
- Kitchen Aid 5 Quart Stand Mixer
- OXO Good Grips Silicon Pastry Brush
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown
- 1½ cups warm water, 110-115 degrees F
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 envelope Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Everything spice mixture:
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Combine 1½ cups warm water, the sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
- Add the flour and olive oil and mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and oil it lightly with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the spices for the everything spice blend together and stir until combined. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups water and the baking soda to a boil in a large dutch oven.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make into a knot and repeat with remaining dough.
- One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the melted coconut oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Best served within the first day of baking.