Most often, we think of eating pretzels while at carnivals, ball parks, shopping at the mall, and watching a movie. Quite frankly, all you need to do is pick up a bag of your favorite variety, at your local grocery store. Personally, a pretzel that’s right out of the oven, with its hot crunchy crust, and soft chewy interior, is the only pretzel that I truly enjoy. There’s no better way to satisfy that pretzel craving than to make them at home.
Fortunately, homemade pretzels are not difficult and are actually fun to make, especially if you have an extra set of hands to help in the assembly. Here’s a great simple-to-follow, homemade pretzel recipe that I like to call “Inside-Out Pretzels,” meaning the flavor is both inside and out. The best part of this recipe, is that you can use many of your favorite The Spice & Tea Exchange® ingredients to flavor your pretzels. Choose from our chef-approved pretzel favorites; our most favorite Italian inspired Tuscany Spice Blend, salty sweet Salted Caramel Sugar, rich cheesy Pizza Seasoning Spice Blend, and even the herbaceous salty Rosemary Basil Sea Salt. Chances are, you’ll discover flavorful homemade pretzels worthy of sinking your teeth into. Here’s how:
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From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
3 Tbs. your favorite spice blend or flavored sugar, divided
(spice blends with a finer consistency will work best)
3 tsp. + ½ tsp. Rosemary Basil Sea Salt
(substitute Fleur de Sel Sea Salt, if using a flavored sugar as a topping)
From the Grocer
1½ Cups warm water (110ºF degrees)
2 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
3¾ Cups bread flour
¼ Cup baking soda
SPRAY a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray, and set aside.
IN the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, brown sugar, 2 Tbs. oil, and yeast. Let sit until lightly foamy, 4-5 minutes.
COMBINE flour, spice blend or flavored sugar, and 3 tsp. Rosemary Basil Sea Salt or Fleur de Sel Sea Salt in a separate bowl, then add to the yeast mixture. Fit mixer with dough hook attachment, knead on low speed until dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, 3-5 minutes.
TRANSFER dough to floured counter, knead by hand until smooth, about 1 minute. Without a mixer: Knead the dough by hand on a floured counter for 7-10 minutes, until it is soft, slightly tacky, and holds its shape when rolled into a ball.
PLACE dough in prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 60-65 minutes.
SPRAY counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough from bowl to counter, gently pressing to deflate. Cut and divide into 12 equal pieces, cover lightly with plastic wrap. Lightly flour 2 baking sheets, set aside.
ROLL 1 piece of dough starting from the center, and working toward the ends, into a 20-22 inch long rope. Make a “U” shape with ends facing away from you. Cross the ends over twice, then fold and firmly press end tips to bottom of “U”, to form pretzel shape. Transfer to prepared
baking sheet, knot side up, repeating process with remaining dough and filling each sheet with 6 pretzels. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 20 minutes.
SET oven to 425ºF. Pour 4 cups of water into a large saucepan or skillet, and whisk in baking soda until dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer 4 pretzels with a slotted spatula, knot side down, to boiling water. Cook for 15 seconds, flip, and cook 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, and repeat with remaining pretzels in batches. Let rest 5 minutes.
WIPE baking sheets clean, spray with non-stick cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining salt. Place pretzels, 6 per sheet, on prepared baking sheets, knot side up, and sprinkle with rest of spice blend or flavored sugar.
BAKE pretzels 17-20 minutes, or when pretzels are deep brown in color, switching and rotating trays within oven half way through baking. Transfer pretzels to wire cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes.
Yield: 12 pretzels
Total Time: 102 minutes
Prep: 90 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
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By Chef Stefan
About the Chef: Chef Stefan is the Corporate Chef for The Spice & Tea Exchange®. Currently, co-owner of the San Francisco and Portland locations, Stefan is also a passionate food lover, trained chef, and culinarian. Stefan advanced both his culinary skills and knowledge of global flavors through his passion for traveling (60+ countries around the world). His formal education spans from San Francisco’s Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy to San Francisco Baking Institute and S.F. Cooking School.