Soft Pretzels: Recipe #180

Soft pretzels are boiled in baking soda water like bagels before they’re covered in salt and baked. This gives them their chewy yet fluffy texture. We made a batch of soft pretzels one recent weekend and they were gone before Monday. They’re lovely to have for lunch alongside a kale salad.

It’s part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total for 8 large soft pretzels)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.08
1 ½ cups hottest tap water – free
4 ½ cups white whole wheat flour – $0.68
1 tbsp salt – $0.13
3 tbsp canola oil – $0.14
1/3 cup baking soda – $0.18
1 egg, beaten – $0.29
2 tbsp “Everything but the bagel” spice with salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes – $1.40

Dipping sauce:
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 tbsp dijon mustard – $0.24
2 tbsp mayo -$0.50

Directions

1. Prepare the dough: in a small plastic bowl, mix the yeast and brown sugar, then add in 1/2 cup of the hottest tap water. Mix gently and briefly, then let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast so a thick foam forms on top.

In a large metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Add the remaining 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp of the canola oil to the yeast mixture, then pour the whole thing into the middle of the flour mixture. Stir it all together until a dough forms, then knead it with your hands for about 5 minutes.

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until it has doubled.

2. When the dough has risen, cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a thin rope and twist each end towards the middle to make a pretzel shape, pinching the ends into the dough to hold it together. Or get creative and make any shape you like.

Make a dipping sauce by mixing together the honey, mustard, and mayo.

3. Boil a large pot of water and stir in the baking soda. Once it’s boiling nicely, drop the pretzels in a couple at a time. After 30 seconds, flip them over for another 30 seconds boiling on the other side.

Put the boiled pretzels on a baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the “Everything but the bagel” spice or any toppings you like. Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes, until they’re nice and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and enjoy warm with the dipping sauce and perhaps a side salad.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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