Meghan's Soft Pretzels



12 pieces



1 tbsp. shortening, for the baking sheets
1-1/3 cup warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3-1/4 cup flour
1 lg. egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. coarse salt


Place an oven rack in center of the oven. Then turn on the oven and preheat to 425°F. Using paper towel, spread the shortening evenly over both cookie sheets.

Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it stand approximately 5 minutes to soften. Then stir with the wooden spoon until completely blended. Add the sugar, table salt, and 1 cup flour; stir until blended. Add 2 more cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to blend after each addition. The dough should be well blended.

Sprinkle a little of the remaining flour over a clean kitchen surface. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, sprinkling with flour if dough is sticky. Pull the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll 1 piece into a rope approximately 15 inches long, then shape the rope into a pretzel or letter. Put the pretzel on one of the baking sheets and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Break the egg into a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp. water and stir together with whisk. Brush the egg wash over each pretzel, using pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Put the oven mitts on and put a baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the pretzels are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Wearing mitts, carefully transfer the sheet to a heatproof surface. Bake the second sheet of pretzels. Using the spatula, transfer the pretzels from the baked sheet to the rack to cool a little before serving them. Cool the remaining pretzels when they are finished baking.

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