Giant Poppyseed Pretzels

TOTAL TIME: 3 hr 5 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive Prep: 2 hr 10 min
Cook: 20 min
 
YIELD: 4 jumbo pretzels about 6-inches wide
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Poppyseeds
  • Kosher salt
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Directions

Place the milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until warm, about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat.

Combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Pour in the warm milk and stir with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let rest until slightly thickened and foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and the salt to the yeast mixture, stirring well with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until all the flour is mixed in.

Place the dough on an unfloured work surface and knead until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. (Or you can mix the dough in a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.) Grease a large mixing bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat lightly with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Position the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

Remove the dough from the bowl and use a rolling pin to roll it out onto an unfloured surface into a 12 by 10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half both vertically and horizontally, so that you end up with 4 rectangles of equal size.

Roll 1 piece between your hands and the surface to form a long, thin roll (like a snake), about 3/4-inch in diameter and 14 inches long. (Note: If the dough becomes too dry to work and will not stretch, wet your hands slightly and then try rolling it again.)
Bring the ends up to form a U shape and cross 1 end over the other at the top. Bring the ends down and across each other as though making a bow and press down on the ends to seal.

Place the formed pretzel on a large ungreased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, keeping the pretzels at least 2 inches apart. Cover the pretzels lightly with a damp clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 5 minutes or until the dough has relaxed slightly. Uncover and, using your hands, gently pick pretzels up and stretch the dough slightly. Cover and let rest for 5 additional minutes, then repeat the stretching procedure.

With a pastry brush, paint each pretzel with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with both the poppyseeds and kosher salt.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pretzels with a turner to wire racks to cool.
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