You can prepare the dough using your favorite method. For this recipe, I use the food processor which is fast and easy. The only drawback is if you want to double the recipe you have to make separate batches, but it literally takes one minute to make the dough so it really isn't a problem.
What you need:
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (I use instant yeast. You could substitute a packet.)
7/8-1 cup water
For the bath:
2 T. baking soda
1/2 cup water
3 T. butter
Place the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of the food processor with the blade. (I used the steel blade, but I think I have a plastic blade that is more appropriate for dough.) Pulse for about 5 seconds. Stream in up to a cup of water while the processor is running. You want to stop adding water when the dough begins to form into a ball and clings to the sides..this should take about 7-10 seconds).
Then process for 45 seconds.
Remove the dough and place into greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
During the rest period, prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper or grease a cookie sheet. I typically would use a stone or Silpat but the temperature for pretzels is 500 degrees which is too hot for the stone I have and for a Silpat.
Prepare the baking soda bath at this time. You can use 1/2 cup warm water (or use boiling water) add the baking soda and stir until dissolved or almost dissolved. I use warm water but I think the boiling water might help the baking soda dissolve better. If you use boiling water you'll need to let it cool before using it.
After 30 minutes, divide your dough into 8 equal pieces then allow to rest for 5 minutes. At this time you will want to preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
Roll your pieces into "snakes". I prefer to spray my counter with cooking spray for rolling out bread dough. We prefer a chunky pretzel, so I don't make them too long. If you like a skinnier pretzel you will want to roll yours to about 28"-30". Shape into pretzels. Here are some directions for how to shape a pretzel if these pictures aren't enough.
(Not the prettiest, but trust me, when they are eating them no one will care.)
Quickly dip your pretzel into the baking soda bath. I put it in right side down, quickly flip it over and then place it on the parchment.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Bake for 7-9 minutes. You may want to turn your baking sheet half way through depending on your oven. I didn't bother.
Melt 3 T. of butter. I like to use the butter wrapper to keep the butter from spattering all over my microwave.
Brush the pretzels with the melted butter. Use all of it.
You can find the original recipe here (which gives directions for 3 ways to make the dough) and will be printable as well.
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