We’ve all been there. You’re at a movie theatre or ballpark and you agree to split a soft pretzel with your friend. So you take turns tearing away portions of the doughy rope in a dangerous game of tug o’ war, inching your way closer to the moment of truth, piece by dainty piece.
And then that moment of truth arrives. You’ve whittled your pretzel down to the thickest, softest, most coveted portion of the entire pretzel shape: the twist.
So who gets to sink their teeth into those overlapping layers? Do you? Do they? Do you both? Do you neither?
Take a deep breath. That awkward moment will never exist again. Today you’re kicking that classic pretzel shape to the curb and embracing the big, thick beauty of Homemade Soft Pretzel Twists. Share if you dare.
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- 1 1/2 cups warm (110-115°F) water
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for topping
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam.
- Secure the hook attachment to the stand mixer, then add the flour and butter to the bowl and mix on low until the ingredients are combined.
- Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with vegetable oil.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. (Watch my video for how to proof bread in the dryer.)
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF and position the oven racks in the middle two positions in your oven.
- Line two sheet trays with lightly oiled parchment paper.
- Stir together the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in an 8-quart pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough onto your work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. (Do not flour your work surface; See Kelly's Notes.)
- Applying even pressure, roll out each piece of dough into an 18- to 20-inch rope. Fold each rope in half, twisting the two pieces around one another and pressing the ends together. Twist the bottom end around the top, feeding it through the top hole and pressing to secure. (See photos for shaping instructions.) Return the twists to the cookie sheet.
- One by one, carefully place each twist into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove each twist from the water using a large slotted spoon or spatula(s) and return it to the cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the twists with the egg yolk wash and sprinkle with kosher salt (optional).
- Bake the twists until golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans (between racks and turning to rotate pans) halfway through, then remove the twists from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Do not flour your work surface prior to rolling out the pretzels or the dough won't have enough traction against the surface. Using the palms of your hands, apply even pressure as you roll from the center out to form the dough into ropes.
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Recipe adapted from Alton Brown.