Scott recently made some soft pretzels, and I think they would be PERFECT for your gameday party on Sunday. He used an easy recipe from the 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. Scott and I both highly recommend this cookbook. Check out his delicious results, below!
1 c. warm water (105 - 115 degrees F), separated
2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (1 envelope)
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. vegan margarine, melted (I like to use Earth Balance brand.)
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 T. plus 1 t. baking soda
In a large bowl, combine 1/2 c. warm water and the yeast. Let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, margarine, sugar, and 1/2 t. salt. Mix this by hand while slowly pouring in the other 1/2 c. warm water. Stir for a minute, adding more water if needed to make a moist but not sticky dough. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Loosely cover the bowl and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 - 1.5 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 - 12 pieces, depending on how thick you want the pretzels. (The recipe calls for 12 pieces, which is what Scott made.) On an unfloured work surface, roll each piece into a ball. Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 baking sheets. Roll each ball int an 18-inch-long rope, working from the center outward and slightly tapering the ends. To form the pretzels, lift the ends of the rope and bring them to meet at the 12 o'clock position, forming an oval. Twist the 2 ends once or twice around one another about 3 inches from the ends, then fold back down over the oval pressing the twist at the 6 o'clock position of the oval. Place the pretzels on the baking sheets, cover, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring 8 cups of water plus the baking soda to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, gently slide one or more pretzels into the simmering water. Simmer for 30 seconds, then flip over and continue to simmer until puffed, approximately 30 more seconds. Returned to greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt to taste.
Once all the pretzels have been boiled and salted, bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Makes 8 - 12 pretzels.