Trader Joe's Pizza Dough Is A Perfect Shortcut To Buttery Soft Pretzels

Making pizza dough from scratch isn't hard, but it does take a fair amount of patience. A properly done Neopolitan pizza dough comes together easily enough but requires a rest time of at least 12 hours, and even the speedier Sicilian-style pizza dough requires several hours before it's oven-ready. How do you speed up the process? You buy the dough ready-made, and Trader Joe's has one of the most popular pizza doughs for those who don't feel like planning ahead.

What you may not realize is that pizza dough isn't just for pizza. Not only does it make delicious breadsticks, as pizza chains have taught us, but there's an even more brilliant hack for transforming pizza dough into something so time-consuming to make that most of us don't bother. If the buttery fragrance of Auntie Anne's beckons you every time you're in the mall or airport, you need this pizza dough hack. You can make delectable buttery soft pretzels from the ball of dough you picked up at Trader Joe's, and it doesn't take hours.

How to transform pizza dough into soft pretzels

If you've never made soft pretzels at home, the step that transforms pizza dough into the butter pretzel you're craving almost seems like magic. You can flatten the dough, cut strips, and shape those strips into a traditional pretzel, or you can simply make little bite-sized soft pretzel pieces. Once you've shaped your pretzels or cut them into pieces, the critical step for getting that signature chewy bite is to plunge those pretzel bites into boiling water that contains baking soda.

Your soft pretzels or pretzel bites just need a few seconds in the boiling water with baking soda (about half a cup for a full pot of water) before you remove and drain them, and they're ready to go into the oven. The baking soda bath makes the dough the ideal texture, and the crust of the pretzel will now bake up a beautiful brown. Top the pretzels with whatever you like — kosher salt, TJ's Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, or even cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat. We recommend brushing your soft pretzel bites with butter when they come out of the oven for the most delicious pretzel stand-like results.