When I first posted this recipe for soft pretzels over a year ago, it immediately became one of the most popular posts on this site. I made that recipe probably a dozen times, trying to improve it with some small variance — and finally settled on garlic. Because, really, is there any savory recipe that isn’t better with some garlic?
But now I’m opening it up to you — what would be other good variations on this? Clearly cinnamon sugar would be great, but are there any unique pretzel flavors I should try out? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…
Soft Pretzel Recipe
1 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hot water (as hot as your tap can get)
Dissolve yeast into water with a pinch of sugar, let stand 10 minutes, until the mixture is creamy colored. Mix the yeast mixture with flour, sugar, salt, garlic powder and canola oil, and knead until combined (a few minutes, not even 5). Let the dough rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the dough has risen, pinch off a handful and roll it out into a long strand. Set aside. Repeat with the rest of the dough, about 6 times. Once all the strands are rolled out, pick up the first one and stretch it out again (the gluten will have relaxed and it should stretch further now). Twist it into a pretzel shape and place it on a baking sheet lined with silipat or cooking spray. Repeat with the rest of the strands.
Dissolve baking soda into hot water and stir until dissolved. Quickly dip each rolled pretzel into the mixture and place it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle all the pretzels with sea salt, to your preference. Bake for about 8 minutes, until pretzels have browned.
Makes six medium-sized pretzels, but please double or triple this recipe, because they disappear quickly!