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Ballpark Pretzels

Chuck Hughes’ yummy Ballpark Pretzels are just as much fun to bake as they are to eat!

Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Yields: 8 large pretzels

Ingredients

  • PRETZELS
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 ˚F) water (375 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (15 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (10 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 ml)
  • 3 cups flour (750 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (30 ml)
  • Vegetable oil, to oil the pan
  • 10 cups water, to cook the pretzels (2.5 l)
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (160 ml)
  • 2 egg yolks beaten with 1-tablespoon water
  • Coarse sea salt

Method

  1.  For the pretzels: Combine warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle dry yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter. Next, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until it’s well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.  Kneading the dough can also be done by hand.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  4. When the dough is ready, lightly flour your working surface and divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inche rope. Make a U-shape with the rope and keep holding the ends to cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place the pretzels on the baking tray and leave it at room temperature for 1 hour. This dries out the surface and makes them easier to handle.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F (225˚ C).
  6. In an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan, bring the 10 cups of water to a boil. Cut the heat and slowly add baking soda to prevent from overflowing. Bring it back to a boil and add the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula and put it back on the baking tray. This step will create a shiny, brown crunchy pretzel shell.
  7. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake until dark golden brown, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving with the super cheesy sauce (see the link for the recipe).
  8. Cook’s note: For a different taste, instead of coarse salt, use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, Parmesan or cinnamon sugar.
  9. To get the shiny brown crunchy shell, it’s important to cook in boiling soda water for 30 seconds.  Cooking it too long will make the pretzel too chewy. Also, allow enough time to rise at room temperature, or else they will rise too much in the oven.