There's nothing better than soft, chewy, warm pretzels from a street vendor — except possibly making them yourself, using this easy recipe. You can make these pretzels on a moment's notice, too: the recipe calls for sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator, no need to feed it first.
Yield: 12 pretzels
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water*
- 1 cup unfed sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator
- 3 cups Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour* or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
- 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) non-diastatic malt powder or 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- *Add an additional 2 tablespoons water if using high-gluten Lancelot flour.
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- pretzel salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, optional
- Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise minimally. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces.
- Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
- Dissolve the malt in the water. Brush the pretzels with the solution, and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.
- Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there's no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
- Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.