Based on Alton Brown's recipe with a couple modifications.
11 oz. AP flour
1 oz melted butter
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast*
1.25 tsp kosher salt
30g pure lye
970ml water (distilled or spring water is best... I use tap water but it's very soft water.)
*under 5000ft altitude use 1.25tsp yeast. Over 7000ft use .75tsp yeast.
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and yeast together.
Mix the melted butter and 3/4c water together.
Mix the wet and dry together until it turns into a ball of dough.
Knead by hand for about 6 minutes or use a stand mixer for about 5 minutes and you should have a nice supple dough.
Let rise in a warm place until double... about an hour.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 450F.
Cut the dough into equal pieces... I shoot for 25g of dough per piece. You can do whatever.... make O's or big pretzel shapes or sticks or hamburger buns, anything you want really.
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and a VERY heavy coat of nonstick spray.
Put the 970ml water into a glass 8" square casserole or similar. Add the 30g lye to get a 3% solution and stir until fully dissolved.
Put the dough balls in the lye solution and swirl it for 1 minute so the fluid circulates around them. If you are doing buns or pretzels put them in for 30 seconds per side.
Take them out with a slotted spoon and allow the excess lye to drip off then immediately transfer from the spoon to the prepared cookie sheet - work quickly here.
Once you have them on the sheet put it in the oven and cook for 6 minutes, then rotate the sheet for even baking and drop the oven temp to 425 and cook for about 4-6 more minutes. You'll know when they are done when they look right... nice and brown with little bit of cracking.
When done you have to IMMEDIATELY get them off the cookie sheet and on to a plate. You may burn your fingers... but if you're not quick they'll get stuck to the parchment and it's a bitch to peel off.
Might work better with a silicone baking mat (e.g. Silpat) in terms of sticking but i'm not sure how the lye might affect it.
This will ugly up your cookie sheet so pick one that you dedicate to pretzels and don't use your wife's shiny new one. I use a standard half sheet pan.
Edited by the_stain, 24 December 2018 - 11:56 AM.