1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 3/4 cupsbread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoonkosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 cups water
1/4 cupbaking soda
Makes:8 (3-ounce) rolls
Soft pretzel rolls that you get at the ballpark or from a street vendor are easy to re-create at home. This recipe uses a basic dough that’s good to try your hand at if you’re a bread-making novice. And the trick to the malty flavor so key to a good pretzel? The dough takes a dip in a baking soda solution before going into the oven. Try these rolls on their own, dipped in our Sweet Hot Mustard, or toasted in a grilled cheese.
1Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to rest until the mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes. (If the mixture does not bubble, either the liquid was not at the correct temperature or the yeast is old.) Meanwhile, coat a large mixing bowl with a thin layer of vegetable oil and set aside.
2Place the flour, sugar, and measured salt in a large bowl and whisk briefly to break up any lumps and combine. Once the yeast is ready, fit the bowl on the mixer, attach a dough hook, and dump in the flour mixture. Mix on the lowest setting until the dough comes together, then increase to medium speed and mix until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
3Form the dough into a ball, place in the oiled mixing bowl, and turn the dough to coat in oil. Cover with a clean, damp dishtowel and let rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 30 to 35 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat the paper with vegetable oil, and set aside.
4Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it on a floured, dry surface just until it becomes smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form into oblong rolls. Place the rolls on the baking sheet and cut 4 (2-inch) diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F and bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
5Once the rolls have risen, stir the baking soda into the boiling water (the water will foam up slightly). Boil two or three rolls for 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rolls, drain, and place on the baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle well with salt and repeat with the remaining rolls.
6Once all the rolls are ready, place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.