Soft Pretzels

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 2 hr
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 28 small pretzels
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Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast

1 tablespoon agave nectar

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

Assorted fillings, optional

Coarse salt or other toppings

Directions

  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F), the yeast and agave in a bowl. Set aside 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour and the sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture and pulse in 10-second intervals until the dough comes together, about 3 pulses. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead 10 to 12 times, adding up to 3/4 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions; cover with a clean towel.
  3. On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick, with a shorter side facing you.
  4. To make plain pretzels, cut the dough rectangle into seven 11-by-2-inch strips. For stuffed pretzels, follow the filling instructions, then cut into strips.
  5. One at a time, pinch the cut long edges of each strip together and roll into a 12-inch rope with your hands. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grab the ends and bring them toward each other, forming a U shape, then cross the left end over the right end to make a pretzel shape. Cross the left end over the right again to make a twist in the middle. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the pretzels 3 inches apart. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes; preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  6. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg; sprinkle with salt or other toppings. Bake until browned, 16 to 18 minutes.

Cook’s Note

These soft pretzels are a more artisanal departure from the pretzels we are used to getting at ballparks and from street vendors. Guy uses whole wheat flour which gives these pretzels a more dense and chewy texture, so if you're looking for a less dense pretzel, try substituting the whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour. When it comes time to rest and proof your pretzels don't be afraid to let them sit a little longer so they are puffier; depending on the time of year, the temperature in your kitchen may vary.

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