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These old-fashioned "Philadelphia-style" pretzels are almost like bagels -- smooth and shiny on the outside, chewy within.
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons baking soda, for the water bath
Mix the sugar, water and yeast; stir to dissolve. (If you're using instant yeast, skip this step, simply combining all of the ingredients at once.) Add the white wheat flour, malt, salt, and enough unbleached flour to make a soft (but not sticky) dough. Knead well, place in a bowl, and let rise till doubled.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a log, and shape the logs into pretzels. In a large pot, boil together 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Put 4 pretzels at a time into the boiling water, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer boiled pretzels to a lightly greased baking sheet.
When all the pretzels have been cooked, paint them with an egg glaze (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with salt or seeds (if desired), then bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are well-browned. Yield: 16 soft, chewy pretzels.