When given the choice between one large meal and multiple small to mid-sized snacks, there is no question that I would choose the snacks. I love to go out for Tapas since you can try lots of different things rather than be forced to look at an already overwhelming menu and choose from it, one item that you think you might like.
Which is why, when I'm not dining out, cooking well-rounded meals or trying out new recipes that I've clipped from magazines or other blogs, I'm usually most likely to be found ordering delivery from Tasti Delite or making a meal out of a box of Kashi Crackers and some sharp cheddar. When it comes to snack foods though, pretzels are and always have been my go-to for a quick nibble that you can either eat straight from the bag without doing too much diet-damage or take on the go for unexpected cravings.
And with that said, you haven't eaten a pretzel until you've eaten one of these pretzels. These would be a perfect game day snack dipped in mustard or served with some sharp cheese.
I'll admit that this isn't the easiest recipe I've ever made but theyre well worth it and really bear no comparison to the rubbery soft pretzels you can get from baseball concession stands and movie theaters.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hot water (as hot as your tap can get)
1. Dissolve yeast into water with a pinch of sugar, let stand 10 minutes, until the mixture is creamy colored. Mix the yeast mixture with flour, sugar, salt and canola oil, and knead until combined. Let the dough rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the dough has risen, pinch off a handful and roll it out into a long strand. Set aside. Repeat with the rest of the dough, about 6 times. Once all the strands are rolled out, pick up the first one and stretch it out again (the gluten will have relaxed and it should stretch further now).
3. Working one at a time, twist each strand into a pretzel shape and place it on a baking sheet lined with silipat or cooking spray. Repeat with the rest of the strands.
4. Dissolve baking soda into hot water and stir until dissolved. Quickly dip each rolled pretzel into the mixture and place it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle all the pretzels with sea salt, to your preference. Bake for about 8 minutes, until pretzels have browned. Makes six medium-sized pretzels.
The prep time is really not as long as you'd think when you see the magic words "active dry yeast." The only long part is letting the dough rise. But hey, while it hangs out for about an hour, you can use that gift of time to do plenty of other productive things.
The part that took me forever was rolling the dough into strands to make the pretzel shapes. My dough was super dry, so patience is definitely a virtue here - but a virtue that will be well worth it when you're dipping hot, fresh pretzels into sweet honey dijon mustard.