this is my first attempt at boiled bread. i’m a little nervous. and i’m NOT using lye.
basic form taken from this and this
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 package / 1 cake yeast
* 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 2 teaspoons pretzel salt*
Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).
Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)
Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.
Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.
Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes.
edit: they looked sort of funny, but definitely tasted like soft pretzel. i wouldn’t say they were indistinguishable from mall or nyc pretzels, but they were delicious and one batch is DEFINITELY not enough. i did four pretzels with an egg wash and four without, and they were instantly devoured. the egg wash made them more soft/chewy (in a good way, like a nyc pretzel) and the non-egg-wash ones got a crispyness on the bottom that was delicious, but unauthentic. i liked both. i’m definitely making this again and again. everyone was delighted by these.
edit two: i made them again two days later. and now i’m making them again today. i’m addicted. i regret nothing.
i was born in new jersey of south german descent, so i’m sort of genetically programmed into a love of soft pretzels.