In yesterday's post, The Best Baking and Pastry Books of 2009, we promised the recipe for soft pretzels from Lovina Eicher's terrific baking book, The Amish Cook's Baking Book, which we named Best of 2009 for All-Purpose Bakers. As we noted in the roundup, the pretzels are easier than most, taking 30 minutes from start to finish, and unencumbered by lengthy instructions. Unlike most pretzel recipes, there is no rising time (see the notes in the roundup post), but you don't need it. Use the photos as a visual aide, brew a cup of coffee and maybe find a pot of mustard, and enjoy.

Credit: Jenn Garbee

Credit: Jenn Garbee

Soft Pretzels

Adapted from The Amish Cook's Baking Book, by Lovina Eicher with Kevin Williams.

Makes: 6 medium pretzels.

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup warm but not hot water

1 3/4 cups bread flour

1 egg, lightly beaten

coarse salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt and warm water. Stir in the flour until a rough ball forms.

3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead with lightly floured hands until smooth (about 5 to 8 minutes).

4. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll each into a rope about 10 inches long. Shape into pretzel forms (see photo above). Brush the pretzels with the egg and sprinkle with the salt. Bake until barely light golden, about 10 minutes.

LA Weekly