For some reason, I've been afraid to make my own hot pretzels. In hindsight, I really don't know why I was so bunged up about it. I made some last week for a birthday party, and they were fairly simple and very tasty.
I got the recipe from my Gooseberry Patch Celebrate Autumn cookbook. The recipe is quite simple--2 packages of dry yeast, 1.5 c warm water, 4.5 c flour, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 c baking soda in 1 c water.
As with any yeast, you need to dissolve it in water that is around 110 degrees. Be very careful with the temperature because if it's too hot, the yeast will die. If it's too cold, the yeast will not activate. Take my word on this one and use a thermometer.
Put the flour in a large bowl and then add the yeast/water and salt. Mix and let rise for about 15 minutes.
While the dough is rising, put the 1c water with 1/4c baking soda into a shallow pan. Make sure it is mixed well.
Roll the dough into long strips that are about 8 inches long. They will look like--for lack of a better term--tubes of poop. That is why I didn't take pictures; it looked like poop. Anyway, let them rest in the soda solution for about 2 minutes and then take them out. Now they will look like slimy, wet poop. Form into whatever shape you desire. Some of mine looked like normal pretzels but many looked like the breast cancer ribbons, which is kinda of cool. Some were just gobs.
Put salt on them if you wish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm with a variety of mustards.
You know what? Despite the poopy look, these tasted AWESOME! Much better than what you would buy in the middle of the mall. They were really, really good! They were a hit at the party. I brought 2 home and froze them for later eatin'. I had one tonight and it held up well...still kinda poopy looking but very very tasty!