For whatever reason, I woke up this morning and thought how much I'd love a home-baked soft pretzel. The weather here is still cool enough to turn the oven on, so I thought I would take advantage. I also thought: good photos. I was right.
I Googled for recipes, and Alton Brown's recipe was top on the list. The man hasn't steered me wrong yet.
As with so many things I've written about here: Why don't I do this more often??? Simplest dough: proof yeast with water and some sugar. Add flour and melted butter. My tip for you readers, don't know where I learned this, but dump it all in. Cover the entire mixer with a dish towel. Turn mixer on to lowest speed and let it run about one minute, incorporating all the flour. The towel keeps the flour cloud at bay. Then turn to medium, knead with dough hook for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic and walk away.
One hour later, return to beautiful dough. Cut into 8 pieces, roll into long pieces (24 inches), shape into pretzels. Drop each one, one at a time, into boiling water with baking soda. Boil 30 seconds..Actually, Alton? Suggest a slotted spatula for this maneuver. You gotta let the extra water drain back into the pan.
Brush with egg wash, top with salt--I had no pretzel salt so used Sel Gris I had in a sampler pack from The Meadow (Thanks, Mark!)...Quick bake at 450F for 12 to 15 minutes.Cool (only a little...these are so great WARM)...and EAT.