I personally prefer soft pretzels than hard ones. In my family, we have different preference on this snack. Well, I am left as the only one who likes the soft one. So, I hardly bake them as I am the only one left to eat the soft pretzels for weeks. Anyway, I want to share my recipe with all of you and the Christmas is around the corner and I think it is also a good idea to use these soft pretzels to replace as dinner rolls.
I did a test on how to freeze the pretzels if I want to make them a day ahead before using on Christmas day. Please see the notes below.
1½ cup lukewarm water, 110°F/43°C
1½ package active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour plus ¼ cup for kneading & flouring
1½ teaspoons fine salt
4½ tablespoons raw sugar/granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup baking soda
3-4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons very coarse salt
Greased a large bowl and baking sheet and set aside for later use. Diced 3 tablespoon of unsalted butter and set aside to soften to room temperature.
Pour the lukewarm water in a large stainless/glass bowl and sprinkle in the active dry yeast and let the yeast to soften. Stir the raw sugar/granulated sugar and 1½ cups all-purpose flour with a wooden spoon. Add the unsalted butter and stir well. Add the remaining all-purpose flour and salt; stir to combine until it forms a sticky dough. Turn out the dough from the stainless/glass bowl onto a well floured surface and knead; and adding extra flour if needed while kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth but still tacky or about 5-6 minutes. Then shape into a large ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a Saran wrap (plastic). Set aside in a warm place for it to proof until doubled in size – about 55-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven 15 minute earlier to 450°F (230-235°C).
Punch the doubled size dough to deflate and turn out into a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 9-10 even portion pieces. Take each portion roll and stretch with the palms of your hands into a 30 inch rope, and then hold the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the surface as you stretch. Gently form each rope into a pretzel shape. Continue the same process until all the portions are done.
In a medium shallow baking dish, add baking soda and warm water and stir until baking soda is dissolve in water. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution and transfer to a greased baking sheet and sprinkle coarse salt on top of each pretzel. Transfer the baking sheet to the preheat oven and bake until golden brown or 8-10 minutes.
I took of the uncooked pretzel and freeze individually in a freezer bag and then took it out and without thawing and bake it @450°F and it turned out alright.
I also use one pretzel that was baked for 5 minutes and cool it completely and freeze it. The pretzel then baked @450°F for another 5 minutes and it turned out good too.
And lastly of course, freeze a fully baked pretzel and then reheat @450°F for 5 minutes or until heat heated thorough. Keep an eye at the oven so that it is not over browned.