Here is this week’s post in my series where I try out recipes I find on pinterest and share how it went. I found this pin for a copycat recipe of Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels- you know, the pretzels you get at the mall? Ryan and I have both been craving this kind of soft pretzel, especially on our recent trip to Burgundy when we stopped at a rest stop for a snack. Ryan mentioned he could really go for a soft pretzel and I immediately wanted one too. While there are some soft pretzels over here (like at an actual bakery), they aren’t the same at the ones you get at the mall. The soft pretzels you find at the mall have a distinctive buttery taste that is soooo delicious.
Well, I followed the pin and wound up on a post from 2012 on Cooking Classy called Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Copycat Recipe. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand so I pulled out my mixer and began cooking. The post recommends warming the milk in a microwave until it reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve found from working with yeast in the past that anywhere between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit will be fine. So I heated up my milk and added the yeast and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the yeast dissolved.
I added the brown sugar, butter, flour, and salt to the mixer, then added my milk and yeast mixture and stirred until blended with the whisk attachment.
I switched to the dough hook and added the remaining flour and started mixing. Unfortunately, my dough was just too sticky and I ended up adding about one to one and a half cups more flour than the recipe called for. So I would say that you should start with the amount recommended, but if your dough is just too sticky, add some more flour until it’s the proper consistency.
I covered my mixing bowl and let the dough rest in my oven. Yes, my oven. I usually use either the oven or microwave (turned off of course) to let my dough rest since it’s a warm place. After an hour, my dough was doubled in size and I pulled it out of the oven then pre-heated the oven.
After punching down my dough, I divided it into twelve pieces and covered the pieces with plastic wrap as suggested. You definitely want to do this because my piece of plastic wrap wasn’t quite big enough and I ended up with a few dry spots on the dough pieces.
I took my first piece of dough and rolled it out. I felt like I was channeling my inner child rolling out play dough into a snake. As noted in the post, it is way easier to roll out on a surface without any flour. I was a bit dubious at first and used a bit of flour, but it was kind of difficult and so I switched to using no flour as the post suggested. I also only rolled out my pieces to maybe 24 inches long instead of the suggested 32-36 inches. While there was nothing wrong with this, it just meant my pretzels were smaller and fatter than the mall kind.
This next part seemed a bit weird to me, but I followed the instructions and made the baking soda and water mixture and soaked my rolled out dough. The post didn’t really say how long to submerge the dough and I discovered that it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to just cover the whole piece of dough in the water mixture and then let it drip dry.
I then shaped my dough into a pretzel on my baking sheet lined with silpats. This is definitely worth doing because the pretzels do stick a bit, even to the silpats! I rolled out each piece then dipped it and shaped it one at a time because its much easier to add salt to the pretzels when they’re just out of the water. The salt will stick much better this way!
The post recommends baking the pretzels for 7 to 11 minutes. I found that my pretzels browned pretty quickly and looked really pretty after 6 minutes, but they weren’t quite done. Baking for 7 minutes was perfect in my oven.
I melted some butter afterward and brushed it on the pretzels when they were still warm from the oven. They really hit the spot. They had the perfect buttery taste just like at the mall. While the post suggests a dipping sauce, they were great without it. My husband and I both thought they were even better than the mall variety and healthier too since you know what’s in them.
We couldn’t eat all of the pretzels right away since there were just too many. I recommend storing them in a zip-top bag and squeezing all the air out after they’ve cooled. When you want to eat one, pull it out and pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds. It will be just as warm and delicious as when it was fresh out of the oven!
Don’t forget to head on over to Cooking Classy to grab the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Copycat Recipe.