Every time I go to Wichita and go to the mall (which isn’t often), I always have to stop at Auntie Anne’s for a soft pretzel. It’s always the same. Sour cream and chive with cream cheese to dip it in. I have been in love with these pretzels FOREVER, and I’ve wanted to make them for just as long.
But… My dear mother and I have a mutual yeast phobia. Every time either of us has used yeast, it’s gone horribly, horribly wrong.
We’re working on conquering our phobia and we’re making baby steps getting closer and closer to bread mastery.
I had been looking through one of our copycat recipe books and I stumbled across this one… And lemme tell you… Ehrmergerd!!! Soooooo flipping good. So I’m going to share my experience (and the recipe at the end of the pictorial) with all my darling Witchie-Poos!
Supplies you’ll need: A stand mixer. Now you can do this by hand, but having to mix and knead the dough for 10 minutes is going to wear you out quicker than anything. You’ll also need brown sugar, dry active yeast, salt, butter, sugar, milk and flour. I used bread flour, but you could use all-purpose flour as well.
You need to warm your milk up to close to 110 degrees F. Any hotter and it would kill the yeast, any colder and the yeast won’t activate correctly.
Pour the milk and add your yeast in your mixing bowl. Let it sit and activate for at least 3 minutes. You’ll know it’s doin’ it’s thing when it looks like this… Nice and foamy and smells like you broke a beer in the bottle.
Start adding the flour, one cup at a time.
Mix and knead for 10 minutes.
Look! It’s dough!
And by the end of the 10 minutes, your dough hook will look like a dough tornado.
Put it in a big greased glass bowl and cover with a sheet of greased plastic wrap. Sit it back on the back burner of your stove while it’s pre-heating so it can rise. It’ll take about an hour for it to double in size.
Look! It’s a big, giant yeast monster!
It’s all spongy and yummy smelling.
And it doesn’t bounce back real quick. For some reason I thought it had to bounce back quickly… But it didn’t..
Then you punch it down! Such a nice, hollow, satisfying sound.
Then you start cutting it into pieces… Which honestly… Didn’t really work out well… I cut a whole bunch of wedges and it didn’t even come out in the wedge shape… So we just started pulling it out.
Get your warm water and baking soda ready so when you’re done with your pretzel, you can dip it in and put it on the pan. This will ensure that your pretzels have a really nice crisp outside.
Start rolling out your ropes. You want to make them long and skinny. Which I didn’t do. But it doesn’t effect the taste, just the aesthetics.
Roll some more.
Dip in the soda water bath.
Put it on the pan! This is also the time you’d want to put salt on them. But these didn’t have any salt.
Plus you can make cute little pretzel thingies.
Check it out! Pretzels!!! Now you put these in the oven and wait unpatiently. While you’re waiting, you need to melt your butter so you can dip them in when they’re done.
Golden yummy goodness right out of the oven.
Then you dip it in butter!
And that just makes them sexy.
Then you get the hubby to make the rest so you could take pictures!
And then you get a little butthurt when he makes them better than you…
And then we sprinkled salt on these babies. We used sea salt.
And then you hear the angels singing on high when you’re done and you have a plate full of golden goodness.
Serve with your favorite accoutrements. Mine of course, cream cheese and the ubiquitous pairing… Nacho cheese!!!
Auntie Anne’s Copycat Pretzels:
2 c. milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (two packets) active dry yeast.
6 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
4 cups flour (I used bread flour, but you can use all-purpose flour)
2 tsp table salt
1/3 c baking soda
3 c. warm water
8 tbsp butter, melted in a pie plate
Warm the milk in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until the temperature reads 110 degrees on a thermometer. Pour into mixing bowl.
Stir in the yeast and let sit for about 3 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Add butter and brown sugar.
Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and add the salt. Kneed for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, or by hand.
Put into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour in a warm, draft free spot until it’s doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Punch down the dough and divide as you’d like.
Roll out each section as long as you can and twist into a pretzel shape.
Dip each pretzel into the warm soda water and placed on a greased baking sheet. Add coarse salt if you wish.
Cook for 7-11 minutes or until browned.
Dip each into the melted butter when done.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!!!