Soft pretzels are hands-down one of my favorite things. I've found two places with THE BEST soft pretzels ever. First: anywhere in Germany; there is nothing as good as a fresh, German soft pretzel- all buttery, salty, perfectly chewy, and delicious. Second: the Carmel Bakery in Carmel, California. I had actually been considering breaking vegan for that Carmel pretzel after my marathon in April, simply because it ends in Carmel, and, well, I will have run an entire 26.2 miles. The thought of walking by that bakery, or never having another German soft pretzel, was just too much to take.... until now.
(Unfortunately my husband had the camera when I made these, so I had to resort to using my phone... sorry for the bad pics!)
For some reason I'd always thought making your own dough, let alone your own pretzels, would just be far too difficult. I'm extremely happy to say that's not at all the case! Plus, these were incredibly easy to veganize (all it takes is using vegan butter, after all), and they made me just as happy & satisfied as those German and Carmel soft pretzels. These were delicious!
My motivating push to make these was this post that I saw on Pinterest. Originally, I was going to make them for the Superbowl, but since they should be served fresh out of the oven, I didn't want to have to travel with them. Since I didn't make these for a big party, I halved the recipe- and that's STILL enough for about 6-8 people as an appetizer.
Recipe adapted from Smells Like Home's Soft Pretzel Bites and Cheese Sauce
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 and 1/8 tsp instant yeast
- 2 and 1/4 cup flour
- 2 Tbsp melted Earth Balance or other vegan butter (I used Smart Balance for these), plus 1-2 tsp for later
- Vegetable oil (you'll need about a tsp or two)
- 5 cups water
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- Pretzel, Kosher, or coarse sea salt
- 1 small crown of broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped into small pieces
- Cheeze sauce from this recipe or some Daiya shredded cheddar-flavored cheeze
- For "desserty" options: Mini Enjoy Life or other vegan chocolate chips, or strawberry jam
- Mix together the sugar, warm water, yeast in a large bowl with a mixer on low. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix for another few minutes, starting with the mixer on medium and then using a fork or spoon to bring together if needed.
- Lightly oil a smaller bowl (I used about 1/2 tsp of canola oil) and transfer the dough into this bowl. Tightly cover and store at room temp (or somewhere warm) for about an hour. The dough should double in size during this time; you can leave it a little longer if needed.
- If making stuffed pretzel rolls, prepare your steamed broccoli (lightly steamed, it will cook a little longer in the oven) or other veggies like spinach or kale, and cheeze sauce.
- Place the 5 cups of water and the baking soda in a large pot and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- While the water is heating, lightly oil a large work surface and divide the dough into about 4-6 pieces. If you want to make stuffed pretzels, make a few balls slightly smaller than your fist. For pretzel bites, roll out the pieces into long strands and cut into about 1-inch pieces. To keep the dough moist, cover lightly with a slightly damp paper towel as you are preparing the other pieces.
- Once the water is boiling, transfer the dough pieces into the pot, in batches. Gently turn the pieces around for about 30 seconds (about 1 minute for the larger rolls). Using a slotted spoon, drain, and transfer onto parchment-paper lined baking sheets.
- (For stuffed pretzel bites or rolls, do this step after stuffing): Lightly brush with a some melted Earth Balance/butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- For stuffed pretzel rolls, use a knife to slice open the roll, and spoon some cheeze sauce & broccoli in. Close by pinching together, or leave open for a more-stuffed version.
- Bake at 425 for about 10-12 minutes.
|Pretzels stuffed with cheezey sauce and broccoli|
So, I'm adding my kitchen to my list of all-time favorite soft pretzel places ;-)