Back in the 80s my mom was a Tupperware lady (and she lived on diet Pepsi and she did aerobics – complete with brightly colored legwarmers and we watched Magnum P.I. religiously – we were totally 80s). Somehow being a Tupperware lady came with a library of recipes; collected I suppose so that the 80s housewife could make the perfect things to fit in all of her specialty Tupperware. As an aside, my favorite totally non-necessary, highly specialized Tupperware piece was the Velveeta keeper. As far as I know, there was not any specific “pretzel keeper” but, nonetheless, my mother loved to make an awesome soft pretzel recipe, courtesy of Tupperware. Today was a chilly rainy day and I didn’t really want anything fancy for dinner. Around 3:00 this afternoon I remembered the soft pretzels of my youth, broke out the recipe, and started a batch rising over the warm pilot light of my old gas stove. Tonight the girls and I feasted on just-out-of-the-oven pretzels and chili for dinner. It was quite satisfying. In the event that it’s rainy or cold where you are here’s the recipe from Tupperware to me to you:
Totally 80s Soft Pretzels
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (equivalent to one envelope)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water)
Large grained salt
1) Pour water and milk a in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of water and let stand for 5 minutes.
2) Gently mix in remaining ingredients except egg white and Kosher salt until a thick dough is formed and knead for 5 – 10 minutes. Slight additions of flour or water may be necessary in order to come to the right consistency. (I use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this step.)
3) Form dough into a ball and set in mixing bowl. Set mixing bowl in a warm location covered by a towel.
4) Allow dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours).
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Roll out dough in sections 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
7) Cut dough into strips and form into shapes. Shapes can include traditional pretzels, braids, and letters. (I like to give each kid a pretzel in the shape of their first initial).
8) Place shaped dough onto uncreased cookie sheet.
9) Brush shapes with egg wash followed by a sprinkle of the large grained salt.
10) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
Note: Particularly good with honey butter, mustard, or cream cheese on the side.