Growing up in Europe had many advantages. Like experiencing wine festivals through the end of summer and into the fall. Winter markets full of crafts and mulled wine. And grabbing daily bread and pastries early in the morning while still warm and ready to be devoured with your favorite cheese.
And while living in Germany, walking through the cobblestone channels that lead to the town square, there would always be fresh pretzels in a stand served by a little old man. They were warm, soft and eaten as quickly as they were bagged up and passed out.
My absolute favorite as a child were soft pretzels. I ordered it every time we we at a local pub with a stick of European butter (which is so much better I will say). They would come out hot and the butter would just melt.
As you can imagine, being back in Canada, the pretzel game was sparse leaving me to my own devices to muster up some of my own fresh pretzels.
I’ve tried many recipes but this is by far my favorite recipes.
Pretzels are best eaten within a day which, thank goodness, isn’t hard in this household. Having said that, you can easily do a quick microwave the next day and it’ll taste still pretty good. Check it out!
In a medium bowl pour in warm water and yeast and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Add brown sugar, melted butter and mix. Gradually add flour until a dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes; place in a bowl and cover with a towel.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, fill a pot with approx. 10 cups of water and baking soda. Bring to a boil.
Divide the dough equally into 12 pieces for small pretzels or 6-8 for larger. Take each piece and roll into a rope about 12 inches long. Lift each end up, twist around and cross over and connecting the ends to the bottom part of the rope. Place onto parchment paper and repeat until each piece is done.
When the water is boiling, place each pretzel into the water and allow to cook for about 30-40 seconds. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and continue until all pretzels have been boiled and salted.
Place in oven and cook for approx 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and serve warm with butter.
You can make any shape you like so if you want pretzel buns or other shape – do it!