Back during the early days of COVID lockdown, when everyone was stuck at home and rummaging through the fridge all day, I quickly realized that scheduled family mealtimes would be necessary to add some much-needed structure to our days.While we were busy experimenting with all the flour and yeast we could hoard, these pretzels made it to our weekly rotation. They’re simple to make, delicious eaten fresh, and some-thing that everyone agreed to eat! Now, with Shabbos ending early, it’s the perfect thing to whip up for Melaveh Malkah.
This recipe may seem complicated, but it only takes 30 minutes from beginning to end to prepare the pretzels. Yields 9 medium-size pretzels
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dissolve yeast in warm water, stirring with a spoon until well mixed. Add salt and sugar and mix well. Slowly add three cups of flour. Mix until dough is thick. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour until dough is no longer sticky.
Turn dough onto the counter and continue to knead. Knead for at least five minutes, adding more flour if needed.
Separate dough into nine equal balls (if you’d like larger pretzels, make fewer balls).
Roll each piece of dough into a rope approximately 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. Shape into a circle with two “tails.” Twist the tails and fold towards the top of the circle, then pinch to hold. (In other words, make a pretzel shape.) Place all nine pretzels on one of the prepared baking sheets.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg for the egg wash.
Fill a large pot with nine cups water and 1/4 cup baking soda. Bring to a boil and dip each pretzel into the water for a maximum of 30 seconds.
Remove pretzels, dunk fully in egg wash, place on the second baking sheet, and sprinkle with toppings of your choice.
Bake for 12 minutes. Turn oven to broil, and bake for an additional five minutes. Watch that the pretzels don’t burn.
Serve with honey mustard or your favorite dip. Best eaten fresh!
The baking soda bath is what gives pretzels their signature crust. If you’re a fan of pretzel challah or buns, use this same technique with your challah dough.
Photography by Saraizel Senderovits