Today, after perusing an old issue of Family Fun magazine (November 2006 issue) and spotting a recipe for homemade pretzels, Ant decided it would be fun to make some! All of the children, down to the three-year-old got involved in the process.
Scrumptious Pretzels Recipe
1-1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3-1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon sugar
Coarse or kosher salt (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pour the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on the yeast. Wait 5 minutes, then stir in the brown sugar, the 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 100 strokes.
Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a semifirm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 7 to 8 minutes, dusting the surface with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around to coat its entire surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in warm place until the dough is nearly doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a large, heavy, shiny (not dark) baking sheet with vegetable shortening.
Turn the dough out onto a flour-dusted surface and knead for 1 minute. Divide the dough in half, placing half back in the bowl and recovering with plastic wrap.
Divide the other half of the dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and let them rest for 5 minutes on a flour-dusted surface. Then roll each ball under your palms and outstretched fingers until it’s about 3 feet long and 1/2 inch thick.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Shape the ropes of dough by making a circle and twisting the ends. Fold the ends back over the circle and pinch the dough. After you finish shaping the pretzels, place them on the baking sheet, leaving as much space between them as possible.
Tumblina made a point to have her pretzel be as long as she is! :)
Stir in the hot water and sugar together in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the water mixture over the pretzels. Top them with a bit of coarse salt, if desired. Set the pretzels aside for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels on the center oven rack until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking. Start shaping the other half of the dough into 3 more pretzels.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil under a wire rack and transfer the baked pretzels to the rack. Using a pastry brush, apply melted butter liberally over the pretzels; this makes them soft and flavorful. Let the pretzels cool briefly, but enjoy them while they’re warm. Makes 6 pretzels.
*Note: We made two batches for our larger-than-average family, and we added cinnamon sugar (that’s what Curly Top is doing in the last photo).
And in case you’re wondering…yes, I did cheat on my diet to have a pretzel. How could I resist?