Secret Recipe Club & One of the Best Things I’ve Ever Made

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, where bloggers are assigned a foodie blog, select and prepare a recipe, and on “reveal” day (today) post about the recipe and share whose blog we were secretly assigned. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and find new recipes.

This month I was assigned Amy's Cooking Adventures. Amy is a stay at home mom with two little boys. She enjoys baking quite a bit and like me, cooking healthy as much as possible. I really had a hard time deciding what to make from her blog. I debated about preparing the Heart Healthy Vegetable Alfredo with Pan Seared Chicken , which is still on my to-make pile, likely later this week, but from the day the assignment came to my in-box, I knew what I was making.

Homemade soft pretzels have been on my culinary bucket list for as long as I can remember. I love the combination of salty and starch, and pretzels warm out of the oven are pretty much perfect food. Fluffy in the inside, beautifully browned, and freshly puffed. But why hadn’t I made them if I liked eating them so much? Simple. I thought homemade pretzels either had to be prepared with (food safe!) lye, whatever that ominously is in food, and they had to be boiled (can you say big mess all over the cook top?). Much to my delight neither is true. Doing a bit of quick research, I now understood how Amy’s Soft Pretzels are made without lye. Lye is an alkali. Baking soda (mixed with water) is an alkali. Viola! Dip the unbaked pretzel in the solution and the “lye” reacts to the surface of the dough, resulting in the pretzel’s deep, glossy brown when baked and gives the pretzel its crisp yet slightly chewy texture.
Be forewarned. This pretzels are not good. They are to die for. Connor had two and a half of them and only stopped there because he was in the middle of preparing dinner for us. I was supposed to share one with Craig but ended up eating almost the whole thing myself. Amy’s original recipe shares a riff for making stuffed pretzels, and the topping possibilities are limited only by your imagination. But I am a pretzel purist and a brush of warmed butter and kosher salt are all I need. Next time I may experiment with making them into pretzel sticks rather then eight rather large pretzels. Portion control. Maybe.

As a note, Amy makes the dough in a mixer. The recipe below reflects the changes I made, notably using the food processor to prepare the dough like I do with pizza dough.

Soft Pretzels
Makes 8 pretzels       

Soda Wash 
½ C warm water
2 T baking soda

Dough 
1 t sugar
2 t yeast
1 C warm water (110-115 degrees F)
½ t salt
2 ½ C all purpose flour

Toppings 
3 T unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt

In a small saucepan, combine the ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir the water until the baking soda is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Place the 1 cup of water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until it froths slightly. Add the salt and flour and knead for 5 minutes or so until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour as needed. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise for at least 30 minutes, longer is fine.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with non stick spray.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal parts. Let the dough rest, lightly covered for 3 minutes.
Using your hands, roll each section of the dough into a long, thin rope and shape into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place on the prepared baking sheets, reshaping as necessary. Let the pretzels rest for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 8-10 minutes (6-7 minutes in a convection oven) or until deeply browned. Brush the pretzels generously with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.


35 comments:

  1. Great choice! I've made these before and it's really hard not to just eat them all!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. I looked at your pretzels and they were gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  2. I adore soft pretzels and yours look great. Haven't made them in a while though. I'd better get on that.

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    1. Colleen, thanks for the comment. The photo does not do them justice. They were truly amazing.

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous! I've never made pretzels either, adding this to my "bucket list" too!

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  4. Alanna, you gotta try them. Super easy and next time I may play with subbing some whole wheat for the all purpose flour.

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  5. We've been totally pretzel crazed lately. Thanks.

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    1. Jeanie, I can understand why you've been pretzel-crazed. Totally addictive, and you sure could be creative making them savory or sweet.

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  6. I am so glad you enjoyed the pretzels, Denise1 We skipped dinner & just ate pretzels the day I made them!!

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    1. Amy, I can see how that would happen with these. Addictive. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. yumyumyum! Pinned and I cant wait to try these!
    Visiting you from SRC! :) <3

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    1. Thanks, Angie, and do try them for a delish treat.

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  8. I have made pretzels too.., they are such an enjoyable thing to make, It is still in draft form, never posted it :), My kids and friends liked it.., Hubby said it was a bit salty..., great choice for SRC

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    1. Jayasri, you need to post about your pretzels. The comments have all been very positive. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. The first time I made soft pretzels, I loved them. They are much easier to make than one would think. They are addictive, so I give them away for fear I'd eat them all. These look great.
    Debby "A Feast for the Eyes"/SRC member

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    1. Debby, thanks for visiting ELL. You are correct, these are super easy to make, much more so that what I'd thought.

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  10. I love pretzels. I've always wanted to make homemade. I am bookmarking this one to try.

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    1. Julie, do give a try. Tasty and simple to prepare. Thanks for commenting.

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  11. Pretzels are always yummy. Good choice!

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    1. Thanks, Vivian, my family thought these were a good choice.

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  12. drooooool. I love soft pretzels and have not made them in a while. I think I'm going to have to bust some out after reading this post!

    be sure to check out seasonalpotluck.com May is avocado and asparagus month! http://bit.ly/JZGxpz We'd love if you'd link up any recipes you may have!

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    1. Betsy, you must revive your pretzel recipe. And I do have a great asparagus soup that I'll link up. Thanks for letting me know.

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  13. Ooh I made pretzels once in high school but I've been wanting to make them ever since. These look perfect! Great SRC pick!

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    1. BigFatBaker, thanks for taking a look. If you need a new recipe for pretzels, you found it!

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  14. YUM! I need to try these...I love pretzels and I want to try these.

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    1. Kirstin, these are YUM. Too much so in fact! Thanks for the comment!!

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  15. These turned out wonderfully well ... Pretzels have been on my MUST TRY list for too long, I just might try these out!

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    1. Trisha, like you, pretzels were on my to do list for a long time, and I'm glad I finally made them. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Great recipe! I'm also one who's never baked pretzels, and it's on my "list" too (as is pretzel bread). Looks pretty easy, actually. Fun post - thanks.

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    1. John, thanks for reading. You gotta try these, Ginger (and you) will luvvvvvvv them. And they are very easy to make. I was surprised.

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  17. Not bad. We tried bagels last month, so I think pretzels are on the horizon soon as well.

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  18. Hi Denise,
    I just love pretzels and this looks wonderful!
    Cooking with you in the SRC-B
    Miz Helen

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  19. Your pretzels look awesome. I know my family would LOVE them.

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  20. I can not wait to try these!! Thanks for posting this simple, but delicious looking recipe! I have been craving soft pretzels, and there isn't a pretzel shop around here to satisfy my cravings! Thanks again!

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  21. Lovely - and an egg free recipe, even better!

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