Amish-Style Soft Pretzels were a hit at my house.

I learned how to make these yummy pretzels at Culinary School.  My family gobbled them up!  These taste a little different from “regular” German-style pretzels which are often dipped in a lye bath prior to baking.  This Amish-style is brushed in a simple baking soda solution.  They are soft, buttery and so delicious.  Enough talk.. let’s start making pretzels!

Note:  When you are baking, it is recommended to measure ingredients by weight but if that’s just too far out of your comfort zone, I have estimated the volume measure equivalents)

Amish-Style Pretzels

pretzel15 oz. water (a little more than 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 oz. active dry yeast  (about 4.75 tsp.)
1 lb. 2 oz. bread flour  (4 cups)
6 oz. pastry flour (rounded 1 cup plus 1/3 cup)
** all purpose flour will work for both amounts if you can’t find the other kinds.  The texture may  not be as chewy
1/4 oz. salt (1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 oz. sugar. (about 1 Tbsp)
Soda Wash:
12 oz. water (1 1/2 cups)
1.5 oz. baking soda (3 Tbsp)

Course Sea salt for sprinkling and melted butter for dipping

Place the yeast in a mixing bowl and add 2 ounces of 110 degree water.  Use a thermometer and get the water to 110 degrees before adding to the yeast.  Whisk the yeast and water to dissolve.  Let it sit in the bowl for 3-5 minutes.  Add flours, salt, sugar and the rest of the water to the bowl.  Using a dough hook on your mixer, mix on medium speed 9 minutes.  Dough should be firm but pliable. If dough is really soft, add a little more flour and mix for a couple more minutes.  Remove dough from the mixing bowl and place in a shallow bowl, turning top of dough down towards the bottom of bowl.  Cover with a towel and let it ferment in a warm place until it is doubled in size and the dough springs back slowly when touched.  I like to put my dough bowl in a cold oven over a bowl of hot steaming water to simulate a proof box environment.  After fermentation, fold the dough in from each side to expel gas and distribute gluten.  Cut dough into 5 oz. pieces and roll each piece into a ball, letting sit on the counter under parchment paper as you work.  Wait 5 minutes after you’re done rolling to start working with the dough again.  Starting with the first dough pieces you rolled, use the palms of your hands to roll a 30 inch long strip.  Twist into a pretzel shape and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Stretch the pretzel out a little when it gets on the pan.  Brush pretzels thoroughly with the soda wash.  Sprinkle with sea salt.    Bake at 500 degrees for 8-9 minutes until well-browned.  Dip in melted butter after baking and drain on cooling racks.  Makes 10-12 pretzels.

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