Boiling the pretzels in sweetened baking-soda-laden water sets the pretzels and gives them their distinct dark crust and complex flavor, which nicely complements the the sunflower seeds and caraway. Store the baked pretzels, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to three days, or in the freezer, for up to one month. Toast in a 350°F oven to reheat.
- Yield: 8 pretzels
- ½ recipe pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- All-purpose fl our, for the work surface
- 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) or pretzel salt
- Make the pizza dough, whisking the caraway seeds in with the flour mixture before adding the wet ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring the baking soda, sugar, and 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Combine the egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl. Spread the oil on the bottom of two large baking sheets.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces (about 2 ounces each). Lightly flour your work surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough, with flat palms, working from the center out, into an 18- to 20-inch rope. Form the rope into a U shape. Fold the ends of the U over twice then down toward the curve; pinch the ends to the curve to attach. Continue flouring the work surface and forming the pretzels. Let the pretzels sit, loosely covered with a dishtowel, for 5 minutes.
- Carefully drop 1 to 2 of the pretzels in the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Lift the pretzels from the water with a spider or large slotted spoon. Gently tap the spider against the side of the pot to remove as much water as possible. Transfer to the oiled baking sheets. Continue boiling the pretzels.
- Lightly brush the boiled pretzels with the egg wash (you will have some leftover) then sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and salt.
- Bake, rotating the sheet trays from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until golden-brown, 12 to 14 minutes.