Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard

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If you really want to impress your friends at your next sports-inspired get together, bake a batch of these guys. Be sure you eat them the same day you make them, preferably while they are still warm, as they don’t keep well. But that shouldn’t be a problem.
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) warm water (110°F/43°C)
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more if needed
- 3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz/515 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 g) baking soda
- Coarse salt for sprinkling
- Grainy mustard for serving
Makes 12 pretzels

Source: ,Home Baked Comfort (Williams-Sonoma): Featuring Mouthwater...

Step 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, the flour, and kosher salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

Step 2

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches (45 cm) long. With each rope positioned horizontally, bring the 2 ends up and toward the center as if forming an oval, cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly.

Step 3

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C). Fill a large, wide saucepan with 7 cups (56 fl oz/1.75 l) water, stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the boiling water (be careful not to overcrowd them). Boil for just under 1 minute, turning once with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Return the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, top side up.
Note: The baking soda added to the boiling water makes a massive difference in these pretzels (trust me—I learned the hard way when testing this recipe). It’s what helps them turn gorgeous and brown, so don’t skip it.

Step 4

Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake until beautifully browned, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Serve warm with big spoonfuls of grainy mustard.

Step 5

This pretzel recipe is excerpted with permission from "Home Baked Comfort (Williams-Sonoma): Featuring Mouthwatering Recipes and Tales of the Sweet Life with Favorites from Bakers Across the Country" by Kim Laidlaw and published by Weldon Owen.

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