These spicy, soft pretzels are best enjoyed warm, but they are still great when completely cooled.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 8-9 minutes
Yield: 12 pretzels
3 3/4 - 4 cups bread flour, divided
1 package (1/4 ounce) fast- rise yeast
1½ cups very warm water (120° - 130°F)
1 tablespoon honey
3 - 5 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups boiling water
¼ cup baking soda
1 tablespoon melted butter, optional
1. In mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast. Stir in water until thoroughly combined. Add honey, jalapenos, salt and cheese. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour until a soft dough forms. Knead dough by hand or with dough hook 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Place dough in oiled bowl turning to coat. Cover with damp towel; let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; divide into 12 equal portions; cover with damp towel.
3. In a shallow glass bowl measure baking soda. Boil 2 cups water. Pour boiling water over baking soda; stir until soda is completely dissolved. Set aside.
4. Grease or line with parchment paper two 13 x 18-inch baking sheets. Roll dough portions into 2 to 2 ½ foot lengths about ¼ to ½ inch in diameter (about the size of a large pencil). Twist into pretzels by making a circle, bringing ends together, twisting twice and pressing ends onto bottom curve of circle.
5. Dip pretzels into soda water; place 6 pretzels per baking sheet. Let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Bake in preheated 450°F oven 8 to 9 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to wire rack. If desired, lightly brush pretzel with melted butter.
Variation: Omit step 3 (soda and water mixture); shape the dough in pretzels, let rise 15 to 20 minutes and bake.
Makes 12 pretzels.
One pretzel provides approximately 208 calories; 8 g protein; 36 g carbohydrate; 1 g dietary fiber; 3 g fat ( 2 g saturated); 10 mg cholesterol; 85 mcg folate; 2 mg iron and 262 mg sodium.
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