Soft pretzels first made their way to America around 1710 with the German immigrants who later became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Many pretzel bakeries opened in Pennsylvania around this time, and since then it has remained the pretzel capital of America, producing 80 percent of the nation’s pretzels. Pretzels were made by hand until 1935 when the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel maker. Today, soft pretzels, served with optional dipping sauces such as cheese or mustard, are popular bar food and are often available from street vendors and at carnivals and fairs.
Recipe Servings: 8
+ 47 minutes resting
- Stir together the sugar, yeast, and warm water in a large bowl.
- Add the flour and salt, beating until well combined.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes or until it is soft and smooth.
- Grease a large bowl using nonstick cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes.
- Combine the boiling water and baking soda in a 9-inch square baking dish, stirring until dissolved. Set it aside.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface and divide it into eight equal pieces. Let the pieces rest uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope about 28–30 inches long and twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Working with four pretzels at a time, place them in the pan of baking soda water, spooning the water over them. Let them sit in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the pretzels with kosher or pretzel salt and let them rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Bake the pretzels for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush them with the melted butter, being sure to use all of it on the eight pretzels.
- Serve the pretzels warm.
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