No shade on Auntie Anne, but the soft pretzels you bake at home are even better than the ones you chomp on at the shopping mall. And there's a secret to making them fast: store-bought pizza dough.
Soft Pizza-Dough Pretzels
Yield: Makes 6 pretzels
- 16 ounces pizza dough
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 large egg
- Coarse salt, seasoning salt, garlic salt or a cinnamon-sugar mixture (choose one for finishing the pretzels)
We used plain pizza dough, but you can also use whole-wheat or herbed. Most supermarkets stock these in the prepared food section or the refrigerated aisle. Once you have your dough, take it out of its package and let it come to room temperature. It'll be more elastic and hold its shape better.
1. Get Prepped
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface (dusted with just enough flour so the dough doesn't stick), divide the pizza dough into six equal portions.
2. Roll Your Ropes
Roll out each piece into a rope about 24" long. If the dough doesn't stretch easily or springs back, let it rest for 5 minutes then stretch it again.
3. Do the Twist
Shape ropes of dough into pretzels by bringing the ends together, twisting them around once and then bringing the twist down into a pretzel shape.
4. Give 'Em a Bath
In a medium bowl, whisk together warm water and baking soda. (The baking soda will not entirely dissolve.) Dunk each pretzel into the water. Hold the pretzel dough over the bowl to let any excess water drip off, then transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with all pretzels.
Good to Know
The baking soda creates an alkaline wash that helps set the outside of the pretzel, creating a chewier, perfectly browned crust.
5. Glaze and Salt
In a small bowl, beat egg. Use a pastry brush to brush beaten egg over the tops of the pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt, to taste.
Good to Know
The egg glaze helps salt stick, increases the browning and creates a slight shine.
6. Bake 'Em Up
Bake for about 20 minutes, until pretzels are deep golden brown. Allow pretzels to cool slightly before serving.
Don't skip the dipping sauce — we recommend two parts whole grain mustard to one part honey. You could also combine 3 ounces of cream cheese with ½ cup powdered sugar, 1½ tablespoons milk and a touch of vanilla extract. Add a generous pinch of cinnamon for even more of that food-court flavor.
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