Let’s face it, Europe has some great bakeries (soft pretzels anyone?) and the Swiss town of Zermatt is no different! While Jacob and I were in Zermatt, we were looking for a cheap bite to eat, since the night before we had indulged ourselves with a big pot of $40 fondue, so we decided to find food easier on the wallet.
Naturally we were attracted to the Swiss bakeries that we found in the Swiss tourist town. After all, the pastries were only a few Swiss Francs (the Swiss currency). Once stepping into one of the bakeries, we were overwhelmed with a large assortment of warm, baked goodies. Of course I was drawn to a warm buttery, salty pretzel. I’m a sucker for soft pretzels. Usually when I’m at the mall or the airport I’ll pick one of them up, but this Swiss pretzel was even better than the pretzels I could get back home. It was really quite wonderful!
Today’s recipe is of course inspired by the bakery pretzel I tried in Switzerland. While, pretzels didn’t necessarily originate in Switzerland, the snack is popular throughout most of Europe.
I’ve attempted soft pretzels at home in the past and they actually aren’t as hard to make as they seem! You could whip these babies out in about an hour or two depending on how fast you are at rolling and shaping the dough (I’m kinda slow at the process, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist).
So, what are you waiting for? Pull out those cookie sheets, preheat that oven and start going to town! You’ll be taking warm, buttery pretzels out of the oven in no time!
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast one packet
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour plus more if necessary
- 2 cups water
- 4 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp coarse salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine yeast, warm water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Mix the mixture until the yeast starts to become bubbly. Mix in the salt and melted butter. Add in 1 cup of flour until mixed, continue with the rest of the flour mixing in 1 cup at a time until the dough is not sticky. More flour may need to be added as necessary.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes and form into a ball. Place the dough back in the bowl and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the baking soda bath. In a sauce pan, boil 2 cups of water along with the baking soda. After the baking soda is dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a 9x9 pan.
Once the baking soda bath is prepared, the dough should be finished resting. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 8 sections. Roll each section into a rope about 19-20 inches long (I roll the dough between my hands). Shape the long rope into a pretzel and place into the baking soda bath for 2 minutes. Place onto baking sheet. Continue rolling and shaping the other pretzels and placing in the baking soda bath until all of the pretzels are prepared.
Bake the pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until they are golden brown. After removing from the oven, brush generously with the melted butter.