Soft Pretzels

WATER - cool 24 ounces
SALT 1 ounce
SHORTENING 1.5 ounces


1) In a mixer, dissolve the fresh yeast and cold water.
2) Top with salt, bread flour, dough conditioner and shortening.
3) Mix with a dough hook on medium speed for 7 minutes.
4) Allow to rest for 30 minutes, covered.
5) Scale dough into 6 ounces pieces. Round into balls.
6) Flatten and shape each piece into a 30" rope. You will need to let the dough relax several times during this procedure to achieve the 30" length. Move on to the next strand and then come back to it! Make the strand thicker in the center, and thinner at the tails. Twist into a pretzel shape. Press the tails firmly into the dough.
7) Place on a cloth-lined sheetpan which has been dusted lightly with flour, or allow them to rest on a floured work bench - covered with plastic wrap.
8) Proof for 15 minutes.
9) Pretzels are then dipped into a Food-Grade Lye or "pure sodium hydroxide" solution.

Disclaimer:  Be careful this mixture is caustic - Use gloves and other protection!
Safety precautions should be followed when using this chemical.

To make the solution:
In a wide stainless steel pot.
Mix 1 ounce of Food-Grade Lye into 32 ounces of room temperature Water (3% mixture).  Mix the Lye into the Water. *Do Not mix the water into the lye there will be a reaction.

Heat solution to 180F degrees.

**Baking Soda can be used as a substitute for the Sodium Hydroxide.

10) Carefully Dip the pretzels into this solution.
11) Remove with a slotted spoon, and place the pretzels on a parchment-lined sheetpan that has been greased.
12) Sprinkle each pretzel with coarse pretzel salt.
13) Bake at 425F for 20 minutes until crusty brown.