How To Create Soft Pretzel Dough
When creating the DOUGH for these SOFT PRETZELS the first thing you need to know is HOW TO BLOOM THE YEAST.
How To Bloom Yeast
When using active dry yeast it is important to get the yeast working a little (bloom) before adding it to the flour. To do this you need to add the yeast to warm water, about 105-110 degrees F.
Without getting out your thermometer it means warm bath water. I like to run the tap water until it is too hot to touch and then back it off a bit slowly making it colder until I can comfortably let the warm water flow over my fingers.
Important Tip: If the water is too hot the yeast will NOT bloom and you will need to start all over again. The same is the case if you use water that is too cold. It is easier to start all over at this point then go through the entire recipe and see the dough flat and dense a the end.
For this soft pretzel recipe the warm water, sugar, salt and yeast is combined in a small bowl. Stir it just to make sure the sugar is dissolving and not stuck on the bottom of the bowl – I have done that! Let it sit for about 5 minutes to let it bloom.
How do you know if the yeast has bloomed?
Take a look at your bowl and you will see a top layer of bubbles and foam. I like using a liquid 2-cup glass measuring cup so I can see the definition between the two layers.
Using the dough hook of your mixer combine the yeast mixture, butter and MOST of the flour.
How much flour do I add?
The recipe does have a certain amount of flour but, depending on the season, temperature, humidity a lot of factors the exact amount of flour will vary.
I am a by the book person so I learned by a lot of trial and error- mostly errors- what the dough feels and looks like to know when to stop adding flour.
Recipes do call for a certain amount of flour. You may not use the entire amount or you may use even more then the recipe states.
If you mix together all but one cup of flour then slowly add in the last cup in 1/4 cup increments you will be able to stop when you need to.
How do I know when to stop?
When using a mixer with a hook the bowl will be scraped clean when enough flour has been added to the dough.
The dough will be in one clump around the dough hook while the sides of the bowl will not have a trace of the dough. It will be clean.
The pretzel dough should be soft with a matte finish.
Rise, rise, rise!
Transfer the dough to a bowl that is sprayed with nonstick spray.
I like putting the dough in the bowl then flipping it over. The nonstick spray will leave a little coat on the now top of the dough.
Cover and let rise in a warm location until it has doubled in size, about an hour.