I have never found a recipe for big soft pretzels that I really loved. They were too complicated to make with kids, or didn’t taste very good, or had the wrong texture. Well, that all changed this last Christmas when my sister-in-law, gave me this little gem as part of a collection of recipes. (I love getting good recipes for Christmas!) I tried it out, and it couldn’t be easier! The kiddos can help from start to finish. Just mix your ingredients, shape your dough (letters, hearts, geo shapes, or the traditional pretzel knot), brush, sprinkle, and bake. They’re so fast, but so good! Here’s the recipe so you can find out for yourself!
Big Soft Pretzels
1 package (or 2 Tbsp) active dry yeast*
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
4 cups flour (Experiment with different types of flour and grains if you like – half whole wheat, half white; a little ground flax; go crazy!)
1 egg, beaten
Kosher salt for sprinkling
(*I like to use SAF instant yeast because it allows you to skip the dissolving step and add it straight to your dry ingredients.)
Dissolve yeast in water; add salt sugar and flour. Knead by hand or at your mixer’s bread setting for 5-10 minutes. Add flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Divide into 6 sections for “mall-sized” pretzels. Twist the dough into any shape; cars, letters, numbers, etc. Place on greased cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with kosher salt on top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
Besides being a perfectly delicious snack, making homemade pretzels with your little ones provides many developmental opportunities, mentioned here. In particular, pretzels are a great fine motor activity as the children work the dough and roll it into shape. If you want to throw in some math or literacy concepts by working on letter, number, or shape formation, forming them with pretzel dough is a great way to do it. If they need some guidance, create outlines on paper and have them laminated for continued use, or just tape down some Saran wrap on top for a one-timer. Once the children have created their “snakey ropes” they can lay them inside the outline to create the figure of their choosing. Whatever the shape, these pretzels are a quick, easy, tasty treat. Now there are three qualities to love in a pretzel recipe! Thank you, Celia!
Top photo by metzga.