So, here's my solution. Chewy soft pretzels that do NOT have that weird taste. Just pure pretzel goodness, salt, and lots o' butter.
My husband, who isn't really a pretzel fan, LOVED these. In fact, see the ones in the picture? Those didn't last 5 minutes after the picture was taken!
I would HIGHLY recommend making these today. Now. Sprinkle them with kosher salt, spread with butter and eat them plain or with nacho sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with marina sauce. Spread with butter, and dip in cinnamon and sugar. Instead of twisting them into pretzel form, cut them into squares and have pretzel dippers. Use them for Calzones. Or sandwich bread. Just go for it.
Chewy Soft Pretzels
Recipe from MelskitchenCafe.com
Makes 8 pretzels
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ozs) all-purpose flour
1/2 teas salt
1 teas sugar
2 1/4 teas instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup (7 to 8 ozs) warm water*
1/2 cup (4 ozs) warm water
2 TB baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 TB butter, melted
Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl and beat until well combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth, and quite slack. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ozs, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it will make your pretzels splotchy.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 20 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.