Soft pretzels are one of the best snacks to have around for football season, as they pair well with beer and are more substantial than many other game-day snacks. Plus, they are naturally dairy-free, pair great with beyond brats, and can be easily customized with seasonings and toppings (“everything” bagel seasoning, shredded cheese, caraway seeds, etc.). These are surprisingly easy to make and take considerably less time than many other yeasted doughs.
Yields 8 pretzels
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 30 minutes active, 1 hour inactive)
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can sub this with bread flour or AP flour)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1.5 Tablespoons baking soda
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter, melted (for brushing tops of pretzels)
coarse sea salt, for tops of pretzels
Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit until bubbling.
Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine, then knead well until smooth and elastic (by hand this will take 10 minutes, by mixer on medium speed around 7-8 minutes).
Place in bowl and cover. Let rise until puffy, about an hour.
Once risen, divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a pretzel.
Preheat oven to 450º F.
Prepare water bath by heating the 4 cups water and baking soda in a large pot (preferably a wide and shallow pot, such as a Dutch oven). Once the water is lightly boiling, drop pretzels in 2-3 at a time. The pretzels should stay in water bath for about 1 minute (30 seconds each side).
Remove pretzels from water bath and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until desired depth of color.
Enjoy! These go well with mustard (of course), cheese sauce, and herbed butter. Pair with beyond brats and braised cabbage for a hearty German meal.