I’m all about trying things. Since I had some whole wheat flour I’ve been wanting to try making whole wheat soft pretzels. Actually I think my husband gets some credit for the idea, too. I used the basic soft pretzel recipe I had great success with but made a few changes. The resulting whole wheat soft pretzel is nice for a change.
I’ve made the soft pretzel recipe three times now and I have to say it’s really easy. With shaping and poaching and then baking there are admittedly a lot of steps. But nothing’s that difficult. I’d say shaping the balls into pretzels is the toughest part — it makes my palms hurt!
Using whole wheat flour as opposed to all purpose flour I did notice a few differences. The dough was a lot softer with whole wheat flour. There wasn’t a whole lot of elasticity in the dough, especially when shaping. I had to be very careful not to roll the dough out to its limits. That said, I have to say I’m quite proud of my pretzel shaping ability. (Now that’s a talent I wish I could put on my resume!)
I got exactly 16 roughly 2.55 oz pretzels out of the recipe. This will sound funny but my recommendation is not to eat any the same day. I put them right in the freezer then put them in the toaster oven for 5 or 6 minutes at 400°F and they’re so much better. The reheat method made the whole wheat pretzels a lot different than when they were fresh. A lot less dense.
Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 16 pretzels
2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- Pour warm water into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.
- Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour; knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.
- Coat a bowl with oil or cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (parchment paper, ungreased, also works). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each), and wrap in plastic.
- Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Preheat over to 450°F.
- Fill large pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
- Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day but can be frozen and reheated.