There’s nothing like the SuperPretzel hard-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside, non-bready pretzels you heat up in the oven. Something about the outer layer makes anything that happened during the day unimportant and insignificant. They are one of my favorite snack foods.
Every time I get a pretzel recipe in my inbox though, it always turns into a version of the Auntie Anne’s creation. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have anything against Auntie Anne’s, but when my mouth is tuned up for not-Auntie Anne’s, it’s quite a letdown, especially after devoting two hours to the process. Still, I keep the recipe on hand when the mood hits.
I think i found one though that reminds me of the SuperPretzel version. I wanted to make my own pretzel buns for breakfast sandwiches (that’s what I told myself going in and then ate three immediately out of the oven). This recipe is as close to SuperPretzel as I’ve gotten. I think if I had added an egg wash, it would have been spot on. They are still delicious though. Next time, I’ll skip the whole swirling process though. Makes me feel like I’m eating elf hats.
adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) quick-rising yeast
- 1 cup warm water
For the topping
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- coarse, kosher or pretzel salt, optional
Place all of the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hooks and beat until well-combined. Continue to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Oil the bowl, turning the dough to coat and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally dissolved. Pour the baking soda/water into a shallow dish. Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 30″ long). Roll the dough from one end to the other, creating a spiral. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops. Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet, placing them on the baking sheet about 1″ to 2″ apart. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.