That being said, I am SO HAPPY that I'm able to post about this, because this was sort of my idea (with the help of a few other newbie Daring Bakers). See, I suggested on the Daring Bakers forum that we start way back at the beginning of Daring Bakers and do what we affectionately call Double Daring Bakers, or DDB for short.
See, in the beginning, there existed our dear Daring Bakers co-founders Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, and they decided to make the same recipe at/around the same time, and then post their results on their respective blogs on the same day. And the rest, as they say, is history. Ever since I became a Daring Baker, I've wanted to try my hand at previous challenges, so what better place to start than at the very beginning with the First Daring Bakers Pretzels?
Here's the recipe:
Hot Buttered Pretzels
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.
For the dough:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (you may need a little more)
For the pretzel topping:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Instructions: Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Work the ingredients together until you can form a ball. If the dough is very dry, add a bit more warm water until it comes together. The dough will look messy, but don’t worry about it.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading by pushing the dough away with the heel of your hand, and then folding it back in onto itself. Push the dough away again and then fold back in. Continue this motion, working the dough until it’s smooth. This should take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough in a mixer with your dough hook for 5 to 6 minutes).
Once the dough is done, sprinkle some flour on the dough and put it in a large, oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour. It will rise considerably.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and set aside.
Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rope that’s roughly 24 inches in length. (Don’t make it too long or your pretzels will be too thin.)
Taking hold of the ends of the rope, cross the rope over itself to form a circle with about 4 to 5 inches on each end that are sticking out. Twist the ends over themselves and secure each end on either side of the pretzel.
Carefully dip the pretzel in the water and then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Sprinkle the pretzels with the kosher salt and let them rest for about 15 minutes.
Put the pretzels in the oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for an additional 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pretzels so that they don’t burn.
Remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately brush them with the butter. Keep brushing them with butter until you’ve used it all.
Serve the pretzels warm with plenty of mustard or another condiment of your choice.
I went a little wild and made cinnamon & sugar, cheddar & parmesan, garlic salt, and regular kosher salt pretzels. I'm thinking I should have double the recipe, because these did not last long in my house! I even took some of the dough and rolled it into long breadsticks for dipping in our soup, and they were delicious. I love how simple these are to make, you pretty much just throw everything in a bowl, let it rise and bingo, bango, bongo, you've got pretzels!