I have to credit my wife, Jill, and her family for sparking my interest in baking soft pretzels. I also must recognize the Great British Baking Show for more inspiration. My family's favorite contestant, Richard Burr, came out with a fabulous cookbook, "B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself," which has a solid pretzel recipe. Check out Richard's website for his baking, building, charity work, and family-related insight:

Once the dough is prepared and done rising, it's rolled out and cut into strips


Baking pretzels does take some time but the result is so worth it! Although I'm not a science guy, the chemistry behind the process is pretty fascinating. Many professional bakeries use a lye solution to dip the pretzels in before baking. It provides the color and flavor that pretzels are so well known for. Since lye can be tricky to work with, I boil my pretzels in a solution of water, brown sugar, beer, and baking soda instead. The result isn't identical to lye-dipped pretzels, but my customers aren't complaining. 
IMG_2424jpgThe barley malt extract replaces sugar in the dough to add a malty flavor.

Whatever beer I have in the fridge goes into my boiling solution. Any left over goes in my belly!

Once the pretzels have boiled briefly, they're placed on baking trays and topped with special pretzel salt or my favorite, everything (bagel) topping. They are then baked at a high temperature to achieve the beautiful crust and chewy interior that makes them so great! I'm the only one in my immediate family that insists on adding good mustard to my pretzel. I have at least 3 different types of mustard in the fridge for such occasions. 


If you are in the Twin Cities area, I usually offer pretzels on my menu on Mondays. Happy weekend!