Chewy Pretzels

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Prefect snack food or a great addition to popcorn and a movie. Recipe by Michael Procopio

Yield: 16 soft, chewy pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 cups minus 2 tablespoons very warm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 1⁄2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1⁄ 4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3⁄ 4 teaspoon salt
  • oil or non-stick spray
  • kosher salt for topping
  • 1 egg white for glaze

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 ° F. Place oven rack on top shelf.
  2. Warm a large (4-quart) mixing bowl with hot tap water. If you have a stand, mixer, your pretzel-making life is going to be much, much easier. Empty and immediately add the warm, measured water and sugar into bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the water and add vinegar. Let rest for 10 minutes. The mixture will foam slightly.
  3. Put 3 1⁄4 cups of the flour, 1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Mix well.
  4. Measure out 2 1⁄4 cups of the flour mixture; stir into the yeasted water. Knead with the dough hook attachment in your stand mixer, or with a lot of stamina without, until the dough is nice and stretchy. Scrape down side of bowl from time to time. Add the remaining flour mixture in small amounts.
  5. With flour on your hands (or the hands of a small child, if you like, it doesn’t matter. Make them do the dirty work, they might thank you for it later), work the dough until it becomes soft and tacky, but manageable.
  6. Turn dough out onto work surface. Knead dough by hand for a few minutes, until it is “pleasant but slightly tacky” (which seems very much in accordance with my personal world-view). If the dough is unmanageably sticky, work in a little more flour.
  7. Put dough on a flour-free surface and squeeze, pull, and roll dough into a 12-inch log of even thickness. Measure the log; cut in half with a knife or dough scraper. With wide-spread fingers, firmly roll each piece into 12-inch logs with ends as thick as the middle. Cut each log into 8 pieces.
  8. Line two baking pans with aluminum foil and coat with oil or non-stick spray, or one pan, if you don’t have two. Set near your place of dough-rolling operation.
  9. Work with one piece of dough at a time. Place one piece of dough on your work surface. With your palms and wide-spread fingers, roll each piece into an even 18-inch strand. Cross ends, twist once, and bring twisted ends up to rest on the top of the pretzel. Repeat with the rest.
  10. Use a soft brush to generously coat pretzels with beaten egg white. Pretzels will be shiny only where the egg white is applied. Sprinkle as much kosher salt over the pretzels as your blood pressure will allow. Place on the top rack of your oven, shut the damned door and bake for 16 minutes, or until golden. Serve while still warm with mustard
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