These homemade soft pretzels are wonderfully chewy and fragrant. I adapted Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe to the bread machine, and to include half whole-wheat flour. To make it work, I decreased the amount of flour (since whole-wheat flour absorbs more liquid) and added vital wheat gluten, which helps the dough remain airy and elastic even though it contains dense whole-wheat flour. I also decreased the amount of salt by half, since the sodium content of the original recipe seemed a bit excessive to me.
Makes 8 large pretzels
Total time: 2 hours
Prep: 15 minutes
Inactive: 1 hour 30 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 package rapid rise yeast
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1. Place water, butter, flours, gluten, sugar, salt and yeast into the pan of a 2-pound bread machine, in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually liquids first, then dry ingredients, and yeast last). Run on the dough cycle.
2. 10 minutes into kneading, check the dough to make sure it’s the right texture. It should be soft and elastic and move freely in the bread machine pan. If it’s very sticky, add flour, a teaspoon at a time. If it’s very dry, add warm water, a teaspoon at a time.
3. When cycle is done, remove dough and place on a lightly floured countertop. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper.Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan.
4. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, each weighing about 4 ounces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. To form into a pretzel shape, make a U-shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope up in the air, cross them over each other and then lower and press onto the bottom of the U:
5. Place the shapes pretzels on the parchment-lined pans. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Place on a clean towel briefly to absorb extra water, then, gently with your hands, return to the pan.
6. When you’re done with boiling all the pretzels, brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition for one soft pretzel
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Cholesterol 41.1 mg
Sodium 584.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 49.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 8.6 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 8 points
Add to bread machine, with the rest of the ingredients, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Don’t sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt prior to baking. Immediately after baking, while still warm, brush with 1 tablespoon unsalted melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar – 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.