Soft Pretzels will always be stuck in a tug-of-war between Philadelphia style and New York City style. The Philadelphia soft pretzel is softer, damp and often served cold. By contrast, the New York soft pretzel is hot, burnt and smoky. While these both sound absolutely irresistible, there is a clear winner in the soft pretzel war, and its neither Philly nor New York.... No one can argue with those deliciously disgustingly sweet shopping mall pretzels.
The mall pretzel is truly one of a kind; slathered in butter and twisted to perfection, and surprisingly easy to replicate! The recipe calls for household staples—with the exception of the always–intimidating active dry yeast. But don’t get it twisted; the only stressful part of yeast is patience (Ed. Note: see above) .
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
8 tablespoons butter, melted in a shallow dish
Warm up the milk in the microwave or on the stove for 2 minutes, to about 110º F. If it’s too hot it’ll kill the yeast. You should be able to comfortably keep your finger in it. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 3 minutes. Add the butter and sugar. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and then add fine salt. Kneed for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, or by hand. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 450º. Punch down dough and divide into 12 lumps. Roll them all out as thin as you can. Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl. Form the dough into pretzel shapes, then dip in the baking soda water. Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for about 7-11 minutes or until browned. Dip each in the melted butter while hot.