This was SOOOOO good that I am up at 1:30 in the morning posting about it having just finished trying both the cinnamon and sugar and regular salted types. I was talking to a neighbor and mentioned that I wanted a pretzel but didn’t want to drive all the way to the mall to get one. She ran in the house and quickly came out with a recipe that she had found somewhere online for a Copy Cat Auntie Anne’s Pretzel recipe. I have no idea which site she got it from, but a quick search found the same recipe in several places.
You will need:
1 package of dry yeast (1 and 1/8 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cup of warm water, between 105 and 110 degrees
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups flour (I used all-purpose)
2 tablespoons Baking Soda
2 cups hot water
Non-stick cooking spray
4 tablespoons Butter
A decent amount of counter space to work with
First, heat water to 105 – 110 degrees and pour in a bowl. Add yeast and stir. Add brown sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 3 – 5 minutes. Add bread flour and flour one cup at a time until you have all four cups added. Mix and knead the dough until it has become moist and springy. Then put on a plate and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap so that the dough does not dry out. I put mine on the top of my oven, which I then turn on and preheat to 450 degrees. The extra warmth from the over will help the dough to rise. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
While your dough is rising, mix 2 cups of hot water in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir often and just set this aside until all of your pretzels are shaped. Also, spray your baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
When 30 minutes have elapsed, cut dough into 12 equal parts (or as close to equal as you can get them) and begin to roll of the dough. It takes a couple to get the hang of it, but roll the dough with both hands while working the dough outwards. Keep rolling it and pressing on it with a decent amount of pressure until it is about as thin as a pencil. The thinner you get it, the more like a mall pretzel it will taste. When you think that you have the correct width and length, twist and shape into a pretzel and set aside. While these are sitting off to the side, they will be rising a little more, which is what you want.
When you have all of your pretzels made, grab your bowl of baking soda and water and stir again. Set a clean hand towel on your counter in front of your bowl. Gently pick each pretzel up and dip it in the baking soda and water solution quickly and remove, placing the bottom of the pretzel on the towel to dry the bottom a little. Next, gently lift the pretzel and place on your prepared baking sheets. You will most likely need to reshape your pretzels a little because it is difficult to keep them together and perfect when you dip them in the baking soda solution. I could not take a picture of this step and you will understand why when you are making them. Do not put the pretzels down in the solution, just dip them so that they are coated and place on the towel to dry the bottom.
Once you have your pretzels made, dipped and on your baking sheet, add salt or other toppings that you want on your pretzels (no cinnamon and sugar!! Cinnamon and sugar are added after cooking for the sweet pretzels!!) and put them in the oven on a center rack and cook for 5 – 6 minutes, then open oven and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Now cook for another 2 to 5 minutes and remove when they are perfect golden brown. While they are cooking microwave butter. Brush each pretzel with butter when they come out of the oven and if making cinnamon and sugar pretzels, now is the time to add the cinnamon and sugar.
Serve with mustard, cheese, icing or your favorite pretzel dip and enjoy!