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Soft Pretzels

Yum!  Soft pretzels!  This recipe comes from Alton Brown.

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115°F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, approximately
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Canola oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel or Kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, sugar and salt.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.  Add the flour and butter and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined.  Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until the dough forms a ball.  Wash out the bowl, coat with oil and place the dough ball inside.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine 10 cups of water with the baking soda in an 8 quart pot and bring to a boil.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each out into 24 inch long ropes.  Make into a pretzel shape by forming a U with the rope, cross the ends and press them into the bottom of the U.

Boil the pretzels one at a time for 30 seconds each and place them on the baking sheets.  A large spatula works well for this.  Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.  Bake until browned, about 12-14 minutes.  Cool on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.

Yield: 8 Pretzels