Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, and I especially love the celebration of Oktoberfest. Here's a recipe for soft Bavarian pretzels that's easy-to-make and will have you donning the lederhosen. Or maybe not! But you and your loved ones are sure to enjoy these warm-from-the-oven pretzels. Kids love making them too.
Makes 16 large pretzels
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsps. salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 tbsps. butter, melted and cooled
½ cup baking soda
Sel gris or kosher salt for topping
Combine 1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees F), sugar, and 2 tsps. salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam and bubbles appear. Add the flour and butter and using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly grease a large metal or glass bowl. Place the dough in the greased bowl, turn it over once to grease the other side and cover with a towel. Place in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and grease the parchment. In a medium bowl, combine 4 cups of warm water with the baking soda. Turn the dough onto a slightly oiled surface or onto parchment and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 12 inch rope. Make a U shape with the dough, cross the ends of the rope over and fix onto the bottom of the U to form a pretzel shape. Place onto an extra baking pan. When all are ready, dip each pretzel completely into the baking soda mixture for 4-5 seconds and remove with a spatula, allowing excess water to drip off. Place each pretzel a few inches apart onto the greased parchment lined pan. Sprinkle evenly with the sel gris. Bake for 8-9 minutes until pretzels are golden brown. Transfer pretzels to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes before serving with coarse mustard.