My friend Jenni and I made these pretzels for an Oktoberfest-themed vegan meet-up. We thought we had the most awesome idea ever. There were 3 or 4 other people who showed up with the same idea. Oh well. I still think ours tasted the best.
This recipe was vegan-ized from an Alton Brown recipe. Good eats yo!
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp granulated unrefined sugar
2 tsp fine grained sea salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp Earth Balance soy butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Coarse sea salt to sprinkle onto the pretzels
Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes (it should begin to foam.) Add the flour and melted butter to the yeast mixture. Using the mixer’s dough hook attachment, mix on the lowest speed until well combined, then increase the speed to medium and continue until the dough looks smooth and pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl without sticking (about 4 minutes.) Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a clean bowl that has been oiled (using canola oil.) You’ll want to use a bowl that is on the larger side and deep enough so that the dough has plenty of room to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in a warm place to sit for close to an hour (the dough should double in size.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush a little canola oil on top.
Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a roasting pan large enough to have several inches of height after adding the water and baking soda. You’ll want a large enough pan because the mixture will foam up a bit while cooking the pretzels.
*Note: We decided to hold off on boiling the water until after we formed the pretzels because the below process took us longer than we expected.
Meanwhile, kneed the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a rope shape that is approximately 24 inches long. It helps to roll it out as much as possible on the work surface, then grab the opposite ends of the dough and begin to swing it in circles like a jump rope. This will help you get a better rope shape without having the dough continually pull back towards the center. Next, form a U-shape with the rope and holding each end of the rope, cross them over one another and bring them down to press onto the bottom of the U-shape. This will create the classic pretzel shape, but it took us several tries before getting the hang of it. We kinda felt like failures for a while, so unless you’re an Amish pretzel master, you’re not alone. Evenly place the pretzels onto the parchment-lined baking baking sheets (4 pretzels per sheet.)
Once your water and baking soda mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a little over medium-high. You want a rolling boil, not a full-on crazy boil. Put one pretzel at a time into the water for about 30 seconds. We used two large flat spatulas to help us carefully remove the pretzels from the water, returning them back to the baking sheet. Lightly brush the top of each pretzel with a bit of canola oil, then sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake for about 13-14 minutes, or until the pretzels are dark golden-brown in color. Transfer with the parchment paper to a cooling rack and allow the pretzels to sit for at least 5 minutes before devouring.
Try dipping them in lemon-horseradish cream, cranberry-mustard relish, pumpkin-apple butter, or just plain old mustard. Mmmmm.