Salty, poofy, chewy, and delicious.
These are amazing dipped in mustard. And even better with a nice cold pint.
I found the recipe somewhere on a Fresh Loaf thread somewhere, but the direct link is here. These are super easy, so if you've been reluctant to approach yeast before, here is a good opportunity.
1 tbs yeast
1 1/4 c warm water
1/4 c brown sugar
4 c flour
melted butter (about 3 tbs)
1/2 c baking soda dissolved in 3 c water at a simmer
1. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the yeast to proof it. The yeast should get foamy after about 5 minutes.
2. Add the flour and mix it gently. The dough should be sticky but well combined. Don't over-knead it or you'll get tough pretzels.
3. Let the dough rise in a covered, oiled bowl for about 20-30 minutes depending on how warm your house is.
4. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and shape into long ropes about 1" in diameter. Shape these into pretzel shapes and prepare some greased baking trays. Dip each pretzel into the water-baking soda mixture and submerge for about 20 seconds. Then place each onto the tray.
5. Bake at 450ºF for about 5 minutes or until the pretzels are golden and smell like heaven. Remove from the oven, brush with butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt. TRY to wait as long as you can before chowing down on them, but they are really really good warm.
I also think this would be a fun baking activity to involve kids in if you happen to have any around! Kids are really good at making dough ropes. :)