1 tablespoon dry yeast (not quick rising)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (or more) room temperature water
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Coarse or kosher salt, optional
Sesame seeds, optional
Place first 5 ingredients in bread machine in order listed. Program machine for dough, basic dough or manual cycle and press start. Check dough after first few minutes of first knead cycle and add more flour or water if necessary to form soft supple ball. At end of final cycle, transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Form dough into ball and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let rest until dough rises slightly, about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Oil 2 heavy large baking sheets. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a 9 to 12-inch long rope. Let dough ropes relax several minutes so they will stretch completely. Form each rope into loose pretzel-shaped knot. Place pretzels on prepared baking sheet; cover with towel and let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Brush tops of pretzels with egg white and sprinkle generously with coarse or kosher salt or sesame seeds. Bake until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before eating.
Dough can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead or frozen up to 3 months ahead. Store dough in gallon-size resealable plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze until ready to form and bake.
Makes 12 soft pretzels.
Date: November 16, 2002