Big soft pretzels are all the rage in shopping malls across the country. I think it's worth the time to make them from scratch to get the incomparable homemade taste.
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Coarse salt
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Cut each into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-in. rope. Shape into a pretzel.
- Place on greased baking sheets. Beat egg yolk and cold water; brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes.
- Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 32 pretzels.
Originally published as Soft Pretzels in Best of Country Breads 2000, p101
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