Olive Oil Soft Pretzel
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115°F)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 packet)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil (choose any Infused flavors…butter, garlic, chipotle, ect.)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Olive oil for brushing
Coarse kosher salt or pretzel salt, for sprinkling
Add 1 1/2 cups warm water and yeast to a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Stir to dissolve the yeast into the water.
Add flour, salt, and olive oil to the bowl with the water/yeast. Begin to mix on low speed (so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere), and then increase speed to medium as the ingredients begin to be worked in. Knead the dough this way for 2-3 minutes, or until a cohesive, only-slightly-sticky ball of dough forms.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place for the dough to rise until about doubled in size. This took about an hour for me.
Once risen, separate dough into 8 equally-sized pieces. Preheat oven to 450°F. At this time fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and place it on the stovetop over high heat.
Roll each dough section into a narrow rope about 20″-24″ long. Form each rope into a U-shape and twist the very tops of the “U” over each other once, and then once again. This forms the pretzel twist.
Fold the rope in half, horizontally, bringing the twisted part down. It should resemble a pretzel! Press the bottom of the twist to the bottom of the pretzel to adhere. Repeat with the remainder of the dough, and place pretzels on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Once the pot of water is boiling, add 2/3 cup of baking soda and stir to dissolve. The water will bubble up, so please do this carefully.
Using kitchen tongs, transfer each pretzel to the pot of boiling water and submerge it for half a minute. I did this two at a time, so four batches. Return pretzels back to their baking sheets (they shouldn’t look much different at all from pre-dunk).
Brush pretzels with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake pretzels for 12 or so minutes, or until the pretzels are a deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.