Makes 12 medium-size or 24 small pretzels
Pretzels are one of the world’s oldest snacks. Great-grandfather Herman ate them in Germany as a boy and here in America as an adult. It was natural that they would find their way into the Berghoff bar. Traditionally, shaped pretzel dough is briefly boiled in water, just like bagels, before being baked. This brief boiling gives both pretzels and bagels shiny crusts and a very chewy texture. I omitted the step of boiling the shaped dough when I developed our pretzel recipe for the home kitchen, so this pretzel is easy to shape and bake. It has a nice soft crust, easy to bite, easy to chew. It is best baked and eaten on the same day. Pretzels are fun for kids and grown-ups alike to shape. We recommend eating these pretzels with any Berghoff beer or a frosty mug of Berghoff Root Beer.
4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ cups warm water
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, well beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel (coarse) salt, as needed
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Do not use a convection oven for this recipe.
To mix in a mixer: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir to mix; add the water, butter, and egg yolk, and mix on low until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead the dough at the lowest speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding some or all of the remaining flour as needed. Cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
To mix by hand: In a 4-quart bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and whisk to mix; add the water, butter, and egg yolk and, using a large spoon, stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
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