The soft pretzel has been sold on the streets of New York City since at least the 1820s. Today, they are sold from ubiquitous metal carts found all over Manhattan and always offered with mustard. You can now have Street-Cart Pretzels at home no mater where you live thanks to this recipe from NYC Vegan by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110°F to 115°F)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons nondairy butter, melted
- Canola oil or other neutral oil, as needed
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- Coarse salt, as needed
Combine the warm water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam. Add the flour and butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients on low speed until well combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and grease it well with oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 (18 x 12-inch) baking pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set the pans aside.
Bring the water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, shape the pretzels. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a “U” shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press them on to the bottom of the “U” in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheets.
One at a time, place the pretzels into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula, return them to the baking sheets, and sprinkle them with the coarse salt. Bake the pretzels until they are light golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
From NYC Vegan, copyright © 2017 by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment. Used by permission. Photo by Jackie Sobon.