Yesterday, Aria and I thought it would be a fun adventure to make home-made pretzels. Boy- was it an adventure! It was quite an involved process for such a simple little treat. It took about 3 and a half hours out of our day... a fun way to spend an afternoon of Aria's Spring Break! Cole joined in once he got home from school to help us roll them out.
The dough itself is pretty basic... much like a pizza dough, except with a little melted butter instead of oil. We kneaded it, let it rise, then rolled it into it's characteristic shape. Aria was especially good at this. Then, after letting them rise for a bit longer, we BOILED them in water with a bit of baking soda in it. Surprised?? I was! Lastly, they were seasoned and baked to golden perfection!
Aria did a great portion of the kneading. Very impressive! If you've done it before, you know what a workout it can be! The dough was soft, smooth and elastic! She did a great job.
Voila! They were delicious!
Here's the actual recipe from my Joy of Cooking cookbook
Combine in a large bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes):
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
(I used only all-purpose flour and they turned out great)
2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix by hand while slowly pouring in a 1/2 cup warm water or enough water to make a moist but not sticky dough. Knead for about 10 minutes then place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Leave it in a warm place for 1 and a half hours. At that point it should have doubled in size.
Punch down the dough, divide it in 12 equal portions, then let these rest on an un-floured surface for 10 minutes to rest. Now it's time to roll out the portions into pretzel shapes, place them on a greased cookie sheet and cover again with plastic wrap or a cloth for 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring to a boil in a big pot or skillet:
8 cups water
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking soda
Reduce heat to a simmer and place a few pretzels in at a time for about 30 seconds; flip then simmer for another 30 seconds. Remove them from the pot and place onto a greased cookie sheet a sprinkle with coarse salt and seasonings if desired. (I used granulated garlic, dried oregano and basil- amazing!) Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes then place on a rack to cool.