Homemade Pretzels

The last few days here have been cold and rainy and just plain old depressing winter dreary which is not a good way to start a new year. Today it did warm up some and the sun finally showed her face for the first time this year! I decided today would be the perfect day to make the pretzels I had been craving. I love a good pretzel and some soup and it’s the perfect pair for these dreary winter days. Though honestly these pretzels don’t need to be paired with anything – they make for a nice tasty treat all of their own. Here’s the recipe I hope y’all enjoy them as much as my family did.

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Ingredients:
• 1 cup warm milk (just toss it in the microwave for :30)
• 2 1/4 tsp active yeast (or 1 packet)
• 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
• 2 1/4 cups flour (divided) + extra for kneading
• 4 tbsp butter (divided & melted)
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup baking soda
• 3 cups warm water
• sea salt (optional)
• honey (optional)
• cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
Warm up a cup of milk by sticking it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Add the active yeast to the warm milk and let set for a couple minutes until it get goopy.
I used my kitchen aid mixer but you can use any medium mixing bowl.
Using your dough hook (if using kitchen aid mixer) or a wood spoon (if using regular mixing bowl) stir in the brown sugar.
Stir in 1 cup of flour.
Add in 2 tbsp of melted butter.
Add salt.
Mix in remaining flour.
On a floured surface take out all of your anger and frustration on the dough for about 5 minutes aka knead the dough.
Shape into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl (I used my evoo misto sprayer whatever you use for spraying pans down is fine) and cover for an hour (just like you would with pizza dough).
Preheat oven to 450F.
After the dough has risen for an hour (it should double in size) give it a big punch to deflate it [who knew baking could be such a workout/stress release].
Divide dough into 6 sections.
Combine baking soda and warm water in a bowl.
Roll out each section of dough like a snake. Work from the middle out. Once you have your stick of dough tie into a pretzel shape.
Dip pretzel into the baking soda water and place on a large baking sheet covered in parchment paper (and sprayed down with evoo misto for good measure).
Repeat until you have all 6 dough pieces formed into pretzels.
If choosing the salted pretzel option sprinkle some sea salt onto the pretzels before placing into the oven.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Remove pretzels from oven and while still warm brush on butter (this is where those other 2 tbsps of butter come into play).
If going for a sweet pretzel drizzle some honey and/or cinnamon onto the pretzel when they’re fresh out of the oven.

These are best when served warm. I even melted some cheese onto one of mine. Note: they are ridiculously delicious and they will not last long! They also make a good side to potato soup. Or any soup for that matter. Or heck just because! I need to make a huge batch and freeze them so that I can have some individually ready to reheat and enjoy when I’m craving a pretzel.
ENJOY!

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