" Hard Way, The" Soft Pretzel, A

Before you working on that hard main course, start off with a soft pretzel.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda mixed with 1 quart water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • kosher salt or cumin, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds
  • 1 small, well-seasoned actor


1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl and set aside in a warm spot. After 10-15 minutes, the mixture should begin to foam and bubble.

2. Add the salt and half of the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface and gradually knead in just enough remaining flour to form a smooth and elastic dough.

3. Continue to knead the dough for another 5 minutes before transferring to a clean bowl oiled with a few drops of olive oil. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat all sides evenly with oil.

4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 450?F. Punch the dough down and roll into a large log. Divide into 12 even pieces, and then roll each piece into a 16-18 inch rope.

5. Form the pretzels into any shape that comes to mind. To form a traditional pretzel shape, simply tie the dough into a loose knot, pinching the ends across the loops.

6. Combine the baking soda and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower each pretzel into the boiling water until it begins to float, about 30 seconds.

7. Drain each pretzel and transfer to a greased baking sheet, brush lightly with the egg-water mixture and sprinkle generously with kosher salt or cumin, caraway, sesame, and poppy seeds.

8. Cover the pretzels with a cloth and allow to rise again, about 5 minutes. Bake in preheated 450?F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

9. There you have it. Soft pretzels are really not hard at all. (If you don?t feel that way about dishes, we suggest inviting over a professional to observe and emulate)"

Makes about 2 dozen

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