Homemade Soft Pretzels

For the month of June, I have been teaching kids how to cook. Sadly, it is the last week of cooking classes. These kids have been so fun and so curious! And really, such great cooks! I let the older kids decide what they wanted to make for the last week of class. One of the things they really wanted to learn was soft pretzels. I have only made these one other time and while they are pretty simple to make, they were not a regular in my household. So, I set out to find a good recipe for these students. Nailed it! Try these soft, chewy, touch of sweet, like you find in the mall pretzels!

SOFT PRETZELS

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons butter (2 Tablespoons for dough and 3 Tablespoons for brushing on finished pretzels)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water
  • Coarse salt, to taste

Warm the milk in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes. Then stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour with a wooden spoon. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour and salt to make a sticky dough. Add more flour if necessary (you’ll probably need a few tablespoons) to form dough into a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each into a pretzel shape (form a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press firmly onto the bottom of the pretzel).

Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on a prepared baking sheet (re-shaping if necessary) and sprinkle lightly with course salt. Bake until golden, 10 – 12 minutes. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter and brush on baked pretzels.

 Yields 6 big pretzels

Cooking Kids Class, minus Zoe. Aren’t they cute?!?

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