Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels

It's not nice to laugh at someones baking.  Yeah, yeah I know presentation is everything.  And yes, these are pretzels.  This is what happens when you don't follow directions.  But let me tell you they tasted fine, mighty fine.  Some with salt and some with cinnamon sugar and I ate a cinnamon sugar pretzel when it was still warm.  Heaven.  This recipe is definitely a keeper. 

I was supposed to roll the ropes out to 30 inches but when I got to 20 inches that seemed just fine and I was afraid the dough would break.  That's what you get when you hurry.  So rise and more rise and voila no definition in the pretzel,  but again I say, "oh sooo good".  I have always wanted to try making my own pretzels and for sure I will make them again and roll them out properly.  Practice makes perfect!  This  recipe is adapted from The Food Network and they are supposed to be like Auntie Anne's.  I'm thinking making pretzel bites will be in my future. 


1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
6 tablespoons butter (2 T. for pretzels, 4 T. for brushing on top after baked.
1/3 cup baking soda dissolved in 3 cups warm water (for dipping before baking).
coarse salt and/or cinnamon sugar for topping.

Warm the milk in a saucepan then pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about two minutes.  Stir in brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon.  Dice 2 tablespoons soft butter and stir into the mix.  Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a sticky dough.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 4 minutes.  Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm spot until doubles in size, about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven 450 degrees and grease or spray with pam a large baking sheet.

When dough has risen punch it down to deflate.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into six pieces.  Roll and stretch the dough with your hands into 30-inch ropes.  Form each rope into pretzel shape.   Make sure you twist the pretzel dough in the middle and not just crisscross it.

Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish.  Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution and sprinkle on the salt if using, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.  Makes six.

Let pretzels cool about 5 minutes or so and brush salted pretzels with melted butter or brush plain pretzels with melted butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar mixture.