I have memories of going to the mall, as a small boy, with my aunt. We always stopped at the ice cream place to get a treat. Although the ice cream was tempting, I can remember looking up at the soft pretzels in that rotating glass warmer and wanting that instead. I loved the texture and the way that those pretzels chewed. So, I tried to recreate them for our bread basket, and they’re always hit. Everybody loves soft pretzels, especially in New York City.
¾ cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
½ teaspoon honey
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature
8 cups water
6 Tablespoons baking soda
Preheat the oven to 400 with a baking sheet or pizza stone inside.
Mix the ¾ cup warm water, yeast, and honey together and let stand for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, butter, and yeast mixture for 7 minutes on low speed. Set the dough on a clean, dry wooden cutting board or table and cover with a damp cloth for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Press each piece into a flat rectangle with your fingers, then fold them three times into a cylinder. Cover again with the damp towel and let rest 10 minutes. Roll each into a strand, about 10 inches long. Pull the ends up and twist them around each other twice. Then take the ends and fold them back to the center and press to attach them. Flip each pretzel over with the seam side down.
Bring 8 cups water with the baking soda to a boil. Working in stages, boil the pretzels 20-30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack to drain. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place the pretzels on them, seam side down.
Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown. Let cool on a rac