11/4 cups warm water
1 package yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons baking soda
2 quarts water
4 tablespoons butter
Allow the yeast to soften in the warm water. Next add the flour, brown sugar, molasses, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and mix till it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till the dough becomes smooth adding flour as needed. This dough is much softer than bread dough.
Ball dough and place into clean, lightly greased bowl, turning the dough ball to evenly coat all sides. Cover and allow to rise roughly 1/2 hour.
This dough does not need to be punched down. Divide into thirds (I use a scale for equal portions), then divide those thirds into thirds again. Roll the dough into long ropes (slightly longer than 2 foot). Form a horsshoe with the rope then cross the ends and fold back over the round.
Place each finished pretzel on a lightly greased baking sheet and then cover and allow to rise for roughly 30 minutes. Next combine the baking soda and water and heat to extremely hot but not boiling.
After the second rising of the pretzels, dip them in the baking soda water 1 at a time. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to flip them then move them to a greased baking sheet. The pretzels will then bake for roughly 10 minutes at 450 degrees (turning after the first 4 or 5 minutes).
When done pull from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two. Combine the 4 tablespoons melted butter with the rest of the oil into a shallow bowl. Remove the pretzels from the baking sheet and dip each side into the butter mix then cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
I have found that you need to let the pretzels cool a bit or they can be a major pain to remove from the pan. And you can brush the butter and oil mix onto the pretzels so it isn’t quite as messy as dipping. (edited to make it more helpful)
This recipe is one of the many great recipes you can find in the book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. If you love making fresh bread it is well worth it to pick this one up.
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