I have baked pretzels in school with every one of my children. They all have loved doing it, but the for the first three the results were only mediocre. I had almost given up until I decided to try one more time with Elizabeth Jane.
After considering some changes we could try we decided to boil the pretzels for 20 seconds and do an egg wash before cooking them. PRESTO! It was an absolute win. And our house smells so good we will be making this recipe again this year. When we do round #2 we are going to try the sweet option I suggest at the end of this recipe.
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1- 1/2 cups of warm water
1 package of instant rise yeast
1 T of sugar
1 t of salt
3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (I prefer the unbleached)
sea salt for topping
1/2 cup of baking soda
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, pour the yeast into the warm water. Mix well. Then add the sugar and salt. Mix again.
Begin to add the flour one cup at a time and mix completely. After you pour in the third cup assess how sticky (or not) the dough is. If it is no longer sticky it is ready for the next step. If it is sticky then add the next half cup of flour. Depending on the climate you may have to add even a bit more flour. It just needs to not be sticky.
Flour your prep surface and pour the dough out onto the surface. Begin to knead the dough. Take about 3 minutes to knead completely. At the end of the 3 minutes, form dough into a large ball. You are going to have to determine yourself how long to make your strips. We cut our dough into smaller parts and rolled one section into a strip. We just had to test the size to figure out how long to make these rolled strips for forming. Roll the cut piece into a long snake-like piece. It helps to shoot for a 1 1/2 foot piece. (You can also make pretzel bites by just cutting the strips into small bite-sized pieces.)
At this point put a pot of water on to boil. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water.
Hold the ends of the snake piece with one end in each hand. Flip the ends out and bring them back in toward the middle, crossing them. Press them down in the center.
Whisk the boiling water. Place a pretzel on a large slotted spoon or spatula and place in the boiling water. Leave in the water for only 20 seconds and no longer. Remove and shake off extra water.
Place on a baking pan. (I used a baking sheet on top of my baking pan for easier clean up and no sticking.) Whisk the egg and brush each pretzel with the egg. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Sprinkle the top of the hot pretzels with sea salt.
One other alternative would be to melt butter and dredge the pretzel in the butter. Remove from the butter and roll in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar for a sweeter pretzel. We have even taken the icing from the cream cheese icing from our cinnamon roll recipe and iced our pretzels! These two go amazingly well together.
We did a video on this recipe on our Instagram story. Be sure to follow us so you can check it out.
If you are looking for easy ideas of ways to connect with you children in the kitchen, check out this cookie recipe. And we just published a series full of ideas that you can try in your family. Each article has many ways you can connect with your family and friends.