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Making (and more importantly eating) steamy, salty, cheesy homemade soft pretzels with a spread of sweet & spicy mustards is empowering! It’s actually possible, and infinitely more satisfying than Manhattan’s offerings, with which I have an intimate and time-honored connection. So trust me.

Virginia is a true artisan, and taught us how to craft picture-perfect figurines with a crisp, toasted shell and a pillowy, soft interior. Her pretzel practice, first sparked by curiosity, became refined as the weekly companion to her husband’s home brewed beer club.

As for myself, I’m a big fan of homemade condiments, particularly refrigerator door staples like ketchup and salsa. Inspired by Virginia, I took on the adventure of homemade mustard-making, an embarrassingly easy success!

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Twisty, salty, cheesy snacks
A delightful unexpected surprise, in fact
Friends with prettier letters than iconic figures
Followed by fudgey squares, better when bigger
The treats and the company were both a delight
Happy snacking to all and to all a good bite!
 
 – Lauren O’Roarke

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Coated with egg wash and piled high with New York Cheddar Cheese (GreenStar Natural Foods Market).
Coated with egg wash and piled high with New York Cheddar Cheese (GreenStar Natural Foods Market).
Can you find the letter pretzels: Wendy, Virginia (an abstract "V"), Stef, Siobhan, Lauren and Emma.
Can you find the letter pretzels: Wendy, Virginia (an abstract “V”), Stef, Siobhan, Lauren and Emma.

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These become plump as they soak.
These become plump as they soak.

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The table evolves. What magnificence.
The table evolves. What magnificence.
Happy cooks and eaters.
Happy cooks and eaters.
Recipe for sauce, coming soon!
Recipe for sauce, coming soon!

 

Craving more? Order my cookbook today on Amazon

 

New York Style Soft Pretzels

Yield: 24 pretzels

From Virginia: Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe, with a couple of slight tweaks. You can find the original recipe, along with helpful videos, here.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • toppings
  • pretzel or kosher salt
  • shredded cheese
  • poppy seeds
  • herbs
  • etc...

Instructions

  1. Combine water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add flour and butter and, using dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, clean the bowl, and oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel, and set in a warm place for 50-55 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper (Alton suggests to brush them with vegetable oil—I personally think this makes them waaay too oily)
  3. Bring about 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan or roasting pan.
  4. While the water is coming to a boil and the oven is preheating, turn dough out onto your work surface (I use a cutting board) and divide into 24 equal pieces (Alton suggests 8…it all just depends on how big you want your pretzels). Roll each piece of dough into a rope until it’s about the width of a marker. Make a U-shape with the rope, cross the ends over each other twice, and press them into the bottom of the U to make a pretzel shape. Place onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you are rolling multiple batches of pretzels at once, you might want to cover the ones you’ve made with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out before they get their bath.)
  5. Place the pretzels upside-down into the boiling water, a few at a time (depending on how big your pan is—pretzels should not be touching), for 30 seconds. Flip right-side-up halfway through. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula and return them to the sheet pan.
  6. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, then sprinkle with pretzel (or kosher) salt or other topping of your choice. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Allergens: dairy, eggs

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