Soft Pretzels

We love soft pretzels, but I thought they’d be difficult to make. A friend of mine makes them often, and after snacking on a few of hers, I decided I wanted to try them for myself. The recipe in my bread machine booklet called for shortening, which it don’t use, so I was put off again. Finally I read up on substitutions and found I could use butter instead. I couldn’t believe how easy – and delicious they turned out! Now they’re a family favorite. I can’t wait to have them this winter along with tomato soup, chili, gumbo, etc.

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1 c. warm water (90-100 degrees)
3 c. bread flour
1 Tbsp. dry milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. bread machine or fast rise yeast
–or–
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 egg white, slightly beaten
coarse salt

Add warm water to bread machine pan. Add bread flour, dry milk, sugar, and salt to pan; tap pan to settle dry ingredients, then level. Cut butter into small pieces and evenly distribute in the corners of the bread pan. Add yeast to center of pan.

Lock pan into bread maker and program for DOUGH; start machine.

When dough has finished, remove from pan and knead on a floured surface for 1 minute. Roll out into a rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball or a pretzel. (For a pretzel shape, roll each piece into a long rope, then cross the ends and twist them twice. Fold ends across to opposite side and tuck under.

Place pretzels on greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30-50 minutes until slightly risen.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush pretzels with egg whites, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Place on rack to cool.

Serve as a bread with soups or as a snack with dipping sauces. We like homemade marinara sauce, honey mustard, or warm queso.

*For chewy pretzels, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tbsp. of salt to dissolve. Reduce heat to simmer and place 2 to 3 pretzels in hot water. Simmer one minute on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and place on grease baking sheet. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake as directed above.

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