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Soft pretzels have always been my weakness.  When I was a kid they were a yummy treat after a shopping trip, and as an adult they are a favorite at baseball games.  My best friend and I were addicted to pretzels when we were in college.  We worked at a store together in a small shopping mall that had very few dinner options.  Our usual supper was something to the effect of a soft pretzel and a dish of ice cream.  An investment of sorts that I’m sure we both feel like we carry around on our hips, even though we were young in those days and our metabolisms were still in tact.  (Right bestie? lol)  Aww, we were young.  *sigh*

Since those days, I’ve often picked up a box of the frozen variety at the grocery store, nibbled on a pretzel occasionally while out shopping, and enjoyed some the in-laws got from the Schwann man (my personal favorite).  As with most things, I wanted to give this a go on my own.  Thanks to the internet, I was able to obtain this simple recipe and the only ingredient I found myself missing was some yeast.  Today I picked up the yeast on my shopping trip, and I embarked on my journey to see if I am as awesome as Kate and I’s good old friend Auntie Anne.

I started off by dissolving the yeast and some sugar in warm water.  I stirred it up and then waited for it to get cloudy.

I’d never waited on yeast before, but I sure did see the difference after 10 minutes!

Then I mixed up the flour, sugar, and salt.  I made a nice hole in the center of it and poured the yeast mixture and oil in there.

The directions told me that after I stirred it all together that if it was dry, I could add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.  Well, let me tell ya, it was as dry as sandstorm in the desert – so I added about another 1/4 cup of water. 

Next came the kneading.  After doing that for 8 minutes I don’t need to do an upper body workout tonight!  And whatever you do, don’t mess with those folks that makes soft pretzels for a living, because all that hard work and they must be ripped!!

The next step was super easy… waiting (and resting after all that kneading!!).  I put this bowl in a warmed oven.  I ended up trading out the cling wrap for a warm damp towel to add some moisture.  After about an hour, I split the dough up into 12 sections on a floured surface. Then I rolled each individual piece into a long piece of rope-like dough. 

Once I did my best to make it into a pretzel shape, I dipped each piece in a mixture of hot water and baking soda. 

Then I placed them on a greased baking sheet, and placed them in the oven for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

*Drumroll Please*  And here is the final result!!!

They are pretty yummy!!! For a first try, it was pretty good.  I am going to keep at tweaking the recipe because I would love for them to have texture and outer crisp of Auntie Anne’s Famous Pretzels.  But for now, the hubs is pretty happy with JB’s Pretzels, and that’s good enough for me. 😀

~Keep on Smiling!!~

-JB

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