My kids are really into those big pretzels at the mall.  It was a rainy Sunday and I thought it would be fun to try to make pretzels at home for three reasons:  1) they could play with the dough; 2) there are a lot of steps so this project can keep them busy for most of the day; and, 3) I had all the ingredients in the house.  First, we mixed flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a bowl.

Then, we added hot water and oil and mixed the ingredients until they form a shaggy dough.

Then, I got a bit of help kneading the dough from my mixer.

The dough rested in a warm place for an hour. My house was pretty cold so I took a shower and brought the dough into the bathroom to heat up.

After the dough doubled in size, I divided the dough into ten pieces and my accomplices rolled the dough into long snakes. We then made an oval with each piece of dough, twisted the top ends around each other twice, and pushed the ends onto the edge of the pretzel. Forming the pretzels may take a bit of practice — just relax, think pretzel, and try your best.  Remember — they don’t have to look perfect to taste good.

Then, the pretzels rised under a clean dish towel for 20 minutes.

A quick dip in a boiling pot of water with some baking soda.

The pretzels puffed in the hot water.

Then, salt, bake, and enjoy.

These were so good that I hate to just call them pretzels. Yum knot? Twist of deliciousness?  What do you think?

Homemade Pretzels

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kid’s Baking

Ingredients

3 cups of all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1 package of rapid rise yeast

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of warm water

3 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil

2 tablespoons of baking soda

2 tablespoons of coarse salt

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  The warm water must be between 115 and 120 degrees.  Pour the water and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the flour mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until rough, shaggy dough forms.

2.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.  This can be done by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook.

3.  Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest in a bowl oiled with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Turn the dough over the coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl in a warm spot and let it rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

4.  Oil 2 baking sheets with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil.  Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface.  Press gently on dough to deflate it.  Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Role the dough into long snake shaped pieces.  Twist each piece into an oval shape.  At the top of the oval, twist the rope together twice.  Bring the ends of the rope to the bottom of the oval so the that twist is in the middle.  Press down on the ends so the dough sticks.

5.  Divided the pretzels evenly on 2 baking sheets.  Cover the pretzels loosely with plastic wrap.  Set the pretzels in a warm place and let rise for about 20 minutes, until puffed and doubled in size.  While the pretzels are rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

6.  Fill a large pot two-third full with water and stir in the baking soda with a slotted spoon.  Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Boil the pretzels for about 30 seconds on each side.  The pretzels will puff up a bit.  Remove pretzel to baking sheet with a slotted spoon and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

7.  Sprinkle coarse salt on the pretzels and bake for about 15 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.

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