Most of the time when everyone's doing something I don't want to do it. I hate the Oprah's book list, and I for sure wouldn't wear a pair of crocs. However, sometimes people know what they're talking about. An example of this is Amber's soft pretzels. They have gone around and around and around my cooking board. Everyone loves them. Myself? I have a weakness for soft pretzels. So much so that I avoid them because I have a hard time not eating a bunch of them. But its been a rough week and I deserved a treat. So I turned to Amber's recipe. And they are just as wonderful as everyone says they are. Jon loved them too. Even Ringo got a little taste and he most definitely approved.
See sometimes it pays to be a lemming. Lemmings get yummy pretzels.
1/8 cup hot water
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
4+ cups flour
Coarse kosher salt
Butter or shortening (to generously grease cookie sheets)
In a large bowl mix together hot water and yeast until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the warm water and brown sugar and stir until the brown sugar dissolves.
Slowly add 4 cups of flour, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
Lightly flour counter. Dip your hands into extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work)
Grease cookie sheets generously with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheet(s) with kosher salt. Preheat oven to 475. (It is very important that you grease the cookie sheets very well)
Using liquid measuring cup fill a large saucepan at least 1/2 full of water. For each 1 cup of water, add 1 tbls baking soda.
Divide the dough into equal sized pieces.
Using the following 4 steps shape each dough ball into a pretzel shape...
1). Roll the dough into a rope 14" long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the dough into a U shape. (if you have trouble rolling the dough into a rope slightly wet your hands and try again).
2). Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips.
3). Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends back, towards the middle of the U.
4). Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly.
Bring water into saucepan to a gentle boil (not to many bubbles) Use pancake turner to lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Then lift the pretzel onto the greased and salted cookie sheet (shaking off excess water back into the saucepan). Repeat until all the pretzels are done.
Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in preheated oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.