No longer do you have to wade through the mall crowd throngs of screaming children, well manicured desperate housewives, and tween girls in not-really-pants leggings in order to get your hands on a soft pretzel.  I present to you - soft pretzels, the home made version!

These are ridiculously easy and quick to make and are sure to be a crowd pleaser. They made my very German husband a very happy man.

I adapted the recipe from the King Arthur Flour recipe.

makes: 8 small; 4 large
takes: approx. 45 minutes rise time; 10 minute baking time
2 1/2 cups bread flour (for that extra chewiness, but you can use all-purpose)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water

For the Topping:
salt (kosher or otherwise)
2 T. melted butter

For the soda bath:
2 T. baking soda per cup of very hot water
(I used 10 T. soda and 5 cups water)

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in your mixer with a bread hook or by hand.  Pour the warm water over it all, mix it together, then knead for 5 minutes (or run in the mixer for 5 minutes), or until the dough sticks together.
Ball it up, dust it with flour, and put it in a gallon ziploc bag or a flour-dusted bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Section the dough ball into 8 equal pieces for small pretzels and 4 equal pieces for large ones.  Let them rest uncovered for 5 to10 minutes.

While they are resting, in a baking pan or bowl (you'll be floating pretzels in it, so size accordingly), mix the soda and hot water until baking soda is dissolved.

Roll each pretzel piece into a long strip.  You can either twist into a pretzel shape or cut into pieces for pretzel bites.  I made a few of mine tightly twisted so that I could use them as hamburger buns - definitely worth a try!

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Once you have enough to fit into the soda water bath, drop them in and let them sit for about 2 minutes.

Put them onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. 

Bake at 475' for 8-10 mins. or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter as soon as they're out of the oven and try your hardest to wait for them to cool!

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
Sprinkle with cocoa powder and sugar
Mix diced jalapenos into the dough and top with a bit of shredded cheese
Mix dried cranberries into the dough and sprinkle with turbinado sugar
Mix chocolate chips into the dough
Mix a 1 T.  mustard into the dough
Mix 1 clove minced garlic into the dough

The possibilities are almost endless!

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