Soft Zaatar Pretzels

AuthorSylvieCategory, , DifficultyIntermediate

There is nothing like homemade soft pretzels! Soft and pillowy on the inside. Tanned and salty on the outside. Sprinkled with Zaatar and salt for that Lebanese touch! I love to have them warm with a cheese dip or some Labneh.

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time3 hrs 15 mins
Pretzel Dough
 2 ½ tsp instant yeast
 sugar
 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
 2 tsp salt
 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Baking Soda Water Bath
 10 cups water
  cup baking soda
Egg Wash
 1 egg yolk
 1 tbsp water
Topping
 Coarse or flaky salt
 Zaatar
Cheese Dip
 1 tbsp unsalted butter
 1 tbsp all purpose flour
 1 cup full fat milk
 200 g Emmental cheese, chopped
 1 tsp chili paste
 Salt to taste
 Black pepper to taste
1

Combine the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Allow to sit for 5-7 Minutes, until foam forms on the surface of the mixture.

2

Whisk the flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and the melted butter to the flour, and use a wooden spoon or a spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer dough to a clean floured surface and knead by hand for at least 5 minutes. Stop kneading when the dough feels completely smooth and a bit sticky. Resist adding more flour.

3

Transfer the dough to a big bowl that's brushed with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm dark spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4

2 hours later, uncover the bowl and punch the dough down. At this stage, you can keep the plastic wrap and store the dough in the fridge to bake it the next day.

5

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

6

Combine the water and baking soda in a large, wide pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Transfer the proofed dough to a clean floured surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces.

7

Roll out each dough into a 50-60 cm long rope and make a U shape with it.

8

Holding the ends of the U rope, cross them over each other twice.

9

Flip the crossed ends and gently press them onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of the pretzel.

10

Repeat with all the dough pieces. Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheets. Gently lower the pretzels into the prepared boiling water, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat turner or spatula. Place the boiled pretzels back on the baking sheet.

11

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle with salt and Zaatar. Cover the baking sheets with kitchen towels and let the pretzels proof for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

12

Bake until dark golden brown, about 12-15 Minutes. Turn the broiler on at the end to get a beautiful color.

13

To make the cheese dip, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the flour over the butter while stirring, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and the chili paste. Cook, stirring constantly until the dip thickens to your liking. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

14

Let the pretzels cool for 5 minutes before serving. Soft pretzels are best eaten fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve them warm with the cheese dip and cold beer. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Pretzel Dough
 2 ½ tsp instant yeast
 sugar
 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
 2 tsp salt
 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Baking Soda Water Bath
 10 cups water
  cup baking soda
Egg Wash
 1 egg yolk
 1 tbsp water
Topping
 Coarse or flaky salt
 Zaatar
Cheese Dip
 1 tbsp unsalted butter
 1 tbsp all purpose flour
 1 cup full fat milk
 200 g Emmental cheese, chopped
 1 tsp chili paste
 Salt to taste
 Black pepper to taste

Directions

1

Combine the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Allow to sit for 5-7 Minutes, until foam forms on the surface of the mixture.

2

Whisk the flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and the melted butter to the flour, and use a wooden spoon or a spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer dough to a clean floured surface and knead by hand for at least 5 minutes. Stop kneading when the dough feels completely smooth and a bit sticky. Resist adding more flour.

3

Transfer the dough to a big bowl that's brushed with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm dark spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4

2 hours later, uncover the bowl and punch the dough down. At this stage, you can keep the plastic wrap and store the dough in the fridge to bake it the next day.

5

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

6

Combine the water and baking soda in a large, wide pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Transfer the proofed dough to a clean floured surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces.

7

Roll out each dough into a 50-60 cm long rope and make a U shape with it.

8

Holding the ends of the U rope, cross them over each other twice.

9

Flip the crossed ends and gently press them onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of the pretzel.

10

Repeat with all the dough pieces. Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheets. Gently lower the pretzels into the prepared boiling water, for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat turner or spatula. Place the boiled pretzels back on the baking sheet.

11

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle with salt and Zaatar. Cover the baking sheets with kitchen towels and let the pretzels proof for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

12

Bake until dark golden brown, about 12-15 Minutes. Turn the broiler on at the end to get a beautiful color.

13

To make the cheese dip, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the flour over the butter while stirring, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and the chili paste. Cook, stirring constantly until the dip thickens to your liking. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

14

Let the pretzels cool for 5 minutes before serving. Soft pretzels are best eaten fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve them warm with the cheese dip and cold beer. Enjoy!

Soft Zaatar Pretzels
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