Two things about pretzels (and me) that you should know. First off, I love pretzels. Elsie and I both have favorite airport “meals” for when we travel together for work. If Elsie gets to choose, and we have time, she usually picks Chili’s. We call it “baby Chili’s” because it’s the smaller version. When I get to choose, it’s Auntie Anne’s pretzels every time. Doesn’t matter if we’re in-between flights at 8 a.m. If there are pretzels about, I want them.
Second, there is an Auntie Anne’s pretzels at our hometown mall. It’s basically the highlight of the mall, if you ask me. And while these pretzels where still in the oven baking, Josh walked into the kitchen and said, “Hmm, smells like the mall in here.”
It was the biggest compliment he could have given me. For reals.
So with those two random facts in mind, let’s make a pretzel wreath together!
3 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups bread flour
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon coarse grain sea salt
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and allow that to sit and foam up for 5-6 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the salt, bread flour, and all-purpose flour. Pour the yeast water into the bowl. Stir until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. This flour is probably more water-based than you might be used to (if you bake bread often), so feel free to really flour your hands or the surface as you work. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
Fill a large pot with 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Stir to dissolve. Heat the water to a low boil. While the water heats up, on a floured surface, divide the dough into small balls, or roll into long ropes and shape like pretzels.
Place each pretzel in the boiling water for 30 seconds, flipping halfway through cooking. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water, draining away as much water as you can. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Also, can you spot me in the above photo? 🙂
For the pretzel wreath, I place my dipping sauce bowl on the baking sheet and arranged the balls around it. Then I remove the bowl before baking. Easy peasy. This is awesome to serve at a party; just add ranch or honey mustard to the bowl. These were a big hit at our office. 🙂 Enjoy!