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New York Style Soft Pretzels

Kamran Siddiqi of The Sophisticated Gourmet is a detail-oriented baker. He often tests recipes numerous times just to make sure they’re perfect, and these delicious soft pretzels are no exception. Inspired by the too-good-to-be-true warm pretzels for sale on New York City street corners, Kamran created his own version that boasts less salt than other recipes you’ll find out there. While these may seem complicated, it's one of those recipes you’ll pat yourself on the back for: Most of the time involved is simply in letting the dough rise, and before you know it you’ll have warm pretzels perfect for a small gathering of friends or a late night study session. And they reheat beautifully—after all, no one said pretzels weren’t allowed at the breakfast table.

Recipe Notes: You don’t need any special equipment for this recipe, although five minutes or so of kneading is required. For help shaping the pretzels, see Kamran’s great step-by-step photos.

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Ingredients

2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 ounces; 1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) granulated sugar

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)

1 cup (128 grams) bread flour

2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons salted butter, softened

Vegetable oil, for bowl and baking sheets

1/4 cup (72 grams) baking soda

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pretzel salt / course grain sea salt

Egg, beaten

1 teaspoon water

Directions

1. Mix yeast, sea salt, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Place flour into a large bowl. Using two butter knives, a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hands to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.

4. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

5. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portions backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda and 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Place pretzels on an oiled baking sheet.

7. Mix the 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle them with the pretzel salt or course grain sea salt.

8. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

9. Re-warm in a 250-degree oven if desired, toast the pretzels in a toaster and serve with mustards.

Inspired by Martha Stewart

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