Recipe By Chef John
Published Sep 27th
Prep 45m Cook 15m Additional 10h 50m Ready In 11h 50m
Servings 8 pretzels Calories 224.4

These are magnificent soft pretzels with a gorgeous, beautifully browned, crusty exterior, bejeweled with crystals of salt.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup lager-style beer
  • 3 ⅓ cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pinch flaked sea salt, or to taste
  • ⅓ cup baking soda
  • 2 ½ cups hot water

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Mix brown sugar and warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over top and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. 2 Add melted butter and beer to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined. Add bread flour and salt. Mix and then knead with your hands or an electric mixer for a few minutes until a dough ball forms.
  3. 3 Grease a bowl with 1 teaspoon butter. Place dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. 4 Punch down the dough and knead until a smooth ball of dough is formed, about 1 minute. Place back in the bowl, cover, and let rise until dough has almost doubled in size, 2 to 3 more hours.
  5. 5 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Place baking soda in an oven-safe dish.
  6. 6 Place baking soda in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Let cool, and then whisk into a shallow bowl of 2 1/2 cups hot water until dissolved. Mixture can be strained to remove any dissolved pieces. Reserve until needed.
  7. 7 Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each one into a ball; let sit for 5 minutes.
  8. 8 To form a pretzel, roll a dough ball into a sausage shape, and then press into a small rectangle with your fingers. Fold the outside third of the dough into the center, and press flat with your fingertips, and then repeat with the edge closest to you.
  9. 9 Roll the dough into a rope 15 to 18 inches long, with the center (belly) of the rope being twice as thick as the ends. Cross the ends once or twice and fold them back over the pretzel so the ends are just past the belly. Repeat to form remaining pretzels.
  10. 10 Put on some thin, food-safe gloves and transfer a pretzel to the baking soda bath; soak for 20 to 30 seconds, gently splashing liquid over the top of the pretzel to coat. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet that's been greased with cooking spray. Sprinkle the still-damp pretzel with large-grain sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels and let rise for 30 minutes.
  11. 11 Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  12. 12 Use a razor or sharp knife to make a slash across the "belly" of each pretzel. Smaller cuts can also be made on other sides of the pretzel if desired.
  13. 13 Bake in the preheated oven until well browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 224.4
  • Carbohydrate 38.6 g
  • Cholesterol 9 mg
  • Fat 4.2 g
  • Fiber 1.3 g
  • Protein 6.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.3 g
  • Sodium 3036.9 mg
  • Sugar 1.8 g

Chef's Notes

You can use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour; Make sure for the baking soda bath that your hot water is at 135 degrees F (57 degrees C).
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