Friday, July 13, 2012

Soft Pretzels Recipe

Did any of you do 4-H as a kid?  I participated in it during two summers growing up and had a lot of fun.  Once a week I'd get together with other girls my age and we'd learn how to cook something.  At the end of the program we'd enter something in the county fair.  For that hour each week I felt as if I was a budding chef beginning my culinary journey.  While I never did go to culinary school, it was fun learning the basics of cooking...and eating!  This recipe reminds me of 4-H; it is simple enough that kids could do it (I had my 2 year old help me) and it is quick to prepare and yummy!  My childhood friend Janae shared this recipe with me years ago and we are still making them.


 Ingredients:
3/4 cup Warm Water
1 1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Yeast
2 cups Flour
Melted Butter and Coarse Kosher Salt

Directions:
In a bowl combine water, sugar, and yeast.  Let sit about 5 minutes until yeast starts to bubble. Add flour.  I'd start with 1 and 1/2 cups and then gradually add in the last 1/2 cup.  Once mostly combined, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until it is a soft dough. 

My 2 year old decided to help knead it while I got my camera, hence the finger marks in the dough.  
Divide dough into 4 equal portions.  Begin making pretzel shapes by taking each portion roll into a long snake, about 15 inches.


Take one side and bend it around and secure it a smidge more than half way down the snake.

Do the same for the other side.

Place seam side down on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush tops with melted butter and then sprinkle tops with coarse kosher salt.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Best when eaten immediately while warm and fresh!

While they are superb by themselves sometimes I like to have a dipping sauce to go with them.  Cheese Sauce seemed to be the sauce of choice in Jr. High, but I would choose a marinara sauce nowadays. 

**If you want to make a another flavor or without the salt on top add 1/2 tsp. salt to the dough when adding the flour and omit sprinkling the top with salt before baking.  Once out of the oven brush them with melted butter and top with desired topping (Parmesan Cheese, Cinnamon Sugar, etc).

Here are some combos we did:
Plain (no salt) dipped in Peach Jam
Cinnamon Sugar dipped in a sweetened Cream Cheese (my favorite combo)
Parmesan Cheese dipped in Marinara Sauce

It was a fun lunch activity and meal. I made them with white flour (Bakers Unbleached) and fresh Whole Wheat flour-super yummy either way. 

Happy Eating!

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