Food is a large part of what makes the culture of a city or town. This is something I learned early on in my travels. As mentioned before, I was encouraged to discover what food was unique to the places I visited and to try the cuisine. Not going to lie, there were some really awful ones. For example, I’ve had frog legs. It happened once and with 100% certainty can tell you it’s not going to happen again.
Recently I went on a trip to Philadelphia. Now, when one thinks of Philly, one food comes to mind: cheesesteak. However, there are some other foods that are attributed to the region that are often overlooked like hoagies and soft pretzels. I’m not saying the soft pretzel was invented in Philadelphia, like most American food, it was brought over by immigrants, in this case the Pennsylvania Dutch.
A surprising fact about me is that I make really good soft pretzels. My family literally drools when I mention them. As I haven’t made them in awhile, I was inspired to make them after my trip to Philly. Below you’ll find our family recipe for soft pretzels. Let me give your fair warning that I had two, very disastrous attempts before I successfully made pretzels. It all comes down to timing. Regardless of difficulty, it’s worth it in the end.
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water (70 to 80 degrees)
3 cups flour
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. bread machine yeast
2 quarts water
½ cup baking soda
1 Tbsp. coarse salt
- Place first four ingredients in bread machine in order given.
- Select cycle 7 dough setting on a bread machine.
- After dough is finished (1 ½ hours), turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough into 8 balls, and roll each ball into a 20-inch rope; form into pretzel shape.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring 2 quarts of water and baking soda to a boil in a Dutch oven.
- Drop pretzels into boiling water; boil for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Remove from water with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
- Place pretzels on greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 9 minutes or until golden brown.
- Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.