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- 5 1/3 cups water, divided
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Warm 1 1/3 cups water to 110° F, then combine with brown sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and melted butter to bowl with yeast mixture and attach to stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Warm the unit by selecting BAKE/ROAST, setting the temperature to 250°F, and setting the time to 1 minute. Select START/STOP to begin.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth ball. Place dough in the warm pot and cover with a kitchen towel. With the unit off, let dough rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn dough out onto lightly oiled work surface. Place remaining 4 cups water in pot. Select SEAR/SAUTÉ, set temperature to HI, and select START/STOP to begin. Bring water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, divide dough into 8 pieces. Keeping the remaining dough covered, roll out each piece into a 20-inch rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross 1 at a time over the center line to make the classic pretzel shape, with ends extending no more than 1 inch. Gently press the dough so it sticks together.
- Cut 2 rounds of parchment paper to fit on the reversible rack. With the rack in the lower position, place 1 round on it and grease generously.
- Once water is boiling, add baking soda, stirring to dissolve (note that it will foam up quickly). Turn off heat and poach half the pretzels for 1 minute on each side. Using a slotted spoon, remove pretzels from the water, let excess water drip off, and transfer to the parchment-lined rack. While pretzels are still wet, sprinkle with salt.
- Empty water from pot. Place rack with pretzels in pot. Close crisping lid. Select ROAST, set temperature to 375°F, and set time to 13 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin.
- Halfway through cooking, use tongs to flip pretzels. Close lid to resume cooking.
- Cooking is complete when pretzels are dark brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 4 pretzels.
- Serve pretzels warm. If storing, let cool completely and keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
A tip from the Ninja® Kitchen Team
It's important the warm water is not too warm or it will damage the yeast and prevent rising. If the water is too cool, it will take longer for the yeast to activate. Wash your hands immediately after handling the pretzels coated in the baking soda solution, or wear rubber gloves.