Every afternoon, my kids come home from school ready for a snack.
I've been thinking about making pretzels for them for several weeks and today we worked on them together.
I spent a long time researching various recipes and methods and found pretty much the all inclusive - everything pretzel you wanted to know (almost) recipe and discussion board on a blog titled, The Fresh Loaf.
While I used most of the recipe from The Fresh Loaf, I wasn't sure whether I should let the dough rise or not, and I wasn't sure whether to dip them in boiling water or not and whether or not to egg wash.
Here's what we ended up with:
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. yeast
1 c. hot milk (microwaved for 90 seconds)
2 1/2 - 3 c. white flour
1 t. salt
2 T. baking soda
6 c. water
1 beaten egg
Combine brown sugar, yeast, milk, flour and salt in mixer and mix until it forms a ball.
Knead for 5 minutes with dough hooks.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area allowing to rise for 30 minutes, or until approximately doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425*. Slice dough into 6 pieces for large pretzels and 12 pieces for smaller pretzels. Roll the dough section into a rope, and shape into a pretzel shape.
Bring water to boil, and add baking soda. Once this reaches a rapid boil, dip each pretzel in for 5 seconds. Place on baking sheet and gently brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes.
I found a slight difference between the pretzels when I boiled them or didn't boil them. My family preferred them boiled, and while it was slightly intimidating to read about, really it was a cinch.
The only thing I will do differently next time is start a little earlier so that I have them ready for my kids to roll out as soon as they walk in the door. The kids loved making their own shapes and creations - which was the best part of all!