Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple Soft Pretzels

For today's craft, Jude and I baked pretzels.  I think this was our favorite one so far.  What was the best part?  Yes, eating it.  He liked making his snack.  I liked that once it's eaten, it's gone, so we don't have to either keep it forever or sneak it into the recycle bin.   After our regular work session, we headed into the kitchen.

Simple Soft Pretzels


For pretzels:
3 cups flour (plus some for dusting the counter)
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp rapid-rise yeast
3 cups warm water (approx 105 -110*F)
1/2 cup canola oil + 2 Tbsp (approx)

For pretzel wash:
2 Tbsp baking soda
2 c. hot water
Kosher or pretzel salt

How to make:

Note: We have a stand mixer with a dough hook, and that's what we used to get us started.  If you don't have a stand mixer, you can do this by hand, but it will probably take a bit more effort from the grown-up to get things mixed into a dough.

 Wash your hands.  Dry them well, so that flour doesn't stick to your hands and turn to glue.

 Assemble the mixer with the bowl and dough hook in place.

To make measuring easier, I poured flour into a large bowl.  Measure three cups of flour into the mixer workbowl.
(My full-cup measuring cup is missing its handle, so we used the half-cup one and counted out six.)

Scoop up flour until it overflows the measuring cup.  Using the side of your hand, sweep off the extra so that it's flat, and add to the mixing bowl.

Add 1 tsp. salt
Note: Make sure you check which spoon is in child's hand!

 Add 2 tsp yeast.

You can use any kind of dry baker's yeast.  We used Rapid Rise, because of how quickly things will rise with it (30 min or less).  If you have more patience, then regular yeast will work, too. We make a lot of homemade bread, so I buy it in the jar, but 2 tsp is about equal to one packet of yeast.  (A packet is equal to 2 1/4 tsp yeast, but 2 tsp enough to work and is easier to measure.  If you have an older child or are working in fractions, then go ahead and use the full amount.)


Raise the bowl  and turn the mixer on low
 (Speed "STIR" or "2") to mix the dry ingredients.

Mix while you count to 20.

Add the oil, followed by approximately 3 cups of water, a little at a time.  (I pre-measured about 4 cups of water into another bowl.)  We added a scoop of water, counted to 10 while it mixed in, then added the next scoop.

 Keep adding water until your mixture pulls into a smooth ball. You may or may not need all of the water -- keep an eye on how things are going.  If it looks really dry, keep going; if the dough starts looking wet/gooey, let the mixer go for a minute and allow the flour to absorb the water. When it looks like bread dough, stop.

You may need to push down any dry flour from along the sides of the bowl...

Or you may have to turn the mixer up for a second or two to help get enough force to bring it together.  Don't go above 6 (it will burn out your motor), and only for a moment until you see the dough mover around a bit more.

 Eventually, you should have a smooth-ish ball that pulls away from the sides into a big blob.  Let the mixer continue to knead it for a minute or two.  (We counted to thirty twice.)

 Dust your hands with some of the leftover flour.

And dust a little on the countertop.

 Turn out your dough...

... and knead it a few times.

Add about 2 Tbsp oil to your mixing bowl.  Put the kneaded dough back in.  Flip the dough around so that it and the bowl are coated with the oil.

 Cover the bowl "with a blanket so it can rest." (*Exactly* what isn't important - just use something without lint.  We used a cloth napkin.) 

 Place the covered bowl someplace warm and away from drafts so it can rise. Our oven has a "bread proofing" setting, so we used this.  I let Jude put the bowl in (though closely supervised) as the oven temp is only about 100*F.  Let the dough rest and rise until it has doubled in size.  For Rapid Rise yeast, it only is about 30 minutes; for regular yeast, it will take at least an hour.

Things you can do while you wait for your pretzel dough to rise:

 Clean up!

 Paint a picture.

 Come back and check the timer.

 Play hide and seek.

Do some laundry...

Race back when the timer is done.

 (While Jude was doing all of this, I mixed 2 Tbsp of baking soda with 2 c. hot water.)

Remove dough from its resting spot, and uncover.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

 (Yes, we washed our hands again.)

Flour your hands and counter again, and turn out dough. Punch down (gently) until it's flat.


Using a utensil safe for your countertop, cut the dough into strips. 

Take each strip and shape into a long strand of dough.
 (Like a Sssssssnake.)

You can either roll it gently under your hands on the counter, or squish it in your hand until it is long and skinny.

Bring the ends together to make a circle shape.

(If you or your child has better fine motor skills, you can create other shapes, letters, etc., or even a traditional "pretzel" shape.)  Transfer to a baking pan.  I like to line mine with no-stick foil.

 Paint on the baking soda/water mixture.  (You can also dip the preztel in it.) It will help create that crispy crust that contrasts with the soft inside.

Sprinkle a little Kosher or pretzel salt onto the tops.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. The entire batch of dough makes 5 pretzels this size.  How many you get will depend on your shapes, etc.

 Devour and enjoy!!

#KidsintheKitchen Weekly Linky


  1. Looks yummy! I need a stand mixer. :)

  2. Oh my, it has been ages since I have made soft pretzels. My friend is the one who had the recipe and we would make them when we were over at her house. I have never made them with the little kiddos, they would have a blast. It appears your son did too! What fun!
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing on Throwback Thursday Blog-Style. I can't wait to see what you share this week! Have a great day!


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