We love soft pretzels! I have played around until I found a good combination. You can adjust the garlic and parmesan to taste, or take out alltogether and just sprinkle with coarse sea salt or a cinnamon/sugar mix...the possibilities are up to you!
Dissolve the yeast into the water in your mixing bowl (warmed in advance if using a stainless steel Kitchenaid bowl, do not use a COLD bowl when blooming yeast!). Give a gentle stir to wet the yeast and let set in a warm place for 10 minutes.
Add the oil, salt and 1 1/2 c of the flour to the yeast mixture. Put your bowl on your Kitchenaid mixer, using the dough hook and knead until just combined.
Add the garlic, garlic powder, cheese, remaining flour to the mixture. Knead with your Kitchenaid for at least 4-5 minutes, until you have a sleek dough ball that is elastic and not sticky. Adjust your water/flour as needed but remember to use warm water! At this point, cover your bowl with a towel and let it sit in a warm place for an hour to rise.
You can divide these into golfball sized portions or just eyeball it (what I do) and pinch off slightly larger than golfball sized pieces. You can do a bigger portion and make into a traditional pretzel shape or just make into sticks to save time. I gently roll the dough between my hands until it looks like a cigar. Put these onto a cookie sheet, covered with parchment and lightly sprayed with a butter no stick spray. Give enough room for expansion, I can fit 10-12 on my Airbake sheet. Let set 30 min to rise again. Turn your oven on to 475.
In a large pot (I use a 5 qt dutch oven), fill pot ½ full of water and add the baking soda, bring to a gentle boil. Gently put each stick into the water and boil for at least 30 seconds per side (3 or 4 will easily fit in the pan at once). Remove from the water gently with a spatula, letting all the water drain off…then place back on the parchment. I then sprinkle each stick with grated parmesan cheese and a shake of freeze dried parsley. Bake for 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Let set 10 minutes and remove from cookie sheet and enjoy! We do either marinara or melted garlic butter for dipping. Makes about a dozen or so.
You can adjust the garlic/parmesan to your taste or take out altogether and just sprinkle with coarse sea salt or with cinnamon/sugar…the possibilities are up to you!