Recently I wrote something about varieties of mustard, and let’s just say I had a lot of mustard in my fridge after that. So what to do with ~30 varieties of mustard? Throw a SAUSAGE PARTY! Not that kind of sausage party, I’m talking about a party full of ground spiced meat products as vehicles for mustard. But you know what else is great with mustard? That’s right, pretzels. And the best pretzels are fresh out of the oven, which is best achieved by making some your damn self. Here’s how.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110º to 115ºF)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cups baking soda
- 2 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- coarse salt to top
- Mix the water, sugar and salt in a bowl, then add the yeast — no need to mix in the yeast, just sort of sprinkle it on top — and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the flour and butter, mix until everything is incorporated, then knead for about seven minutes, or until dough is totally cohesive. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and let proof for an hour in a relatively warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- Fill a large deep pan or a stockpot with four inches of water, add the baking soda and bring to a boil.
- Get your dough and divide into 24-30 relatively even portions (a kitchen scale works well for this).
- Roll each piece of dough into a long thin tube, about 14-16 inches long; try to keep it relatively even. I do this be starting to roll at the center with my hands while pushing towards the top of the tube, then I flip it over and do the same thing to the other end.
- Fold the tube into the pretzel shape you’re familiar with.
- Once you have all your pretzels twisted up, drop them in the boiling water 3 to 5 at a time (or however many fit without crowding) for 15 seconds, flip them, and let them go for 15 seconds more (30 seconds total). Pull them out and set them on parchment paper or a cooling rack.
- Line a large baking sheet with fresh parchment paper, and move the pretzels to it (might need multiple baking sheets).
- Brush with the egg mixture, and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until nice and brown on the outside.