I love baking this recipe with my kids. It’s quick and easy to make (you don’t even have to wait for the dough to rise) and kids love making their own unique pretzel shapes. I usually make the dough myself and then call the kids into the kitchen to twist pretzels or do whatever they want.
(scroll to the bottom for the full printable recipe)
What you’ll need:
- 1 package (1/4 oz) or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1.5 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- course salt
We’ll start with the water. It’s important for the water to be the right temperature when working with yeast. If it’s too hot or too cold, it can kill the yeast or make it inactive, which means your bread – or in this case pretzels – won’t rise. And who wants that?
So we’ll need 1.5 cups of water. Use a candy thermometer or other kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature. I needed to microwave my water for about 10-15 seconds to get it warm enough. If you warm it too much, just start again. It’s water after all.
Okay now we’ll have happy yeast. Dump the water into your mixing bowl and add 2.5 teaspoons of yeast. It needs to dissolve all the way into the water. The water will look kind of murky.
When the yeast is dissolved, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix gently.
Add 3 cups of flour.
Start mixing with your dough hook. Or by hand. I made this recipe many times before I had my Kitchen Aid mixer. It’s just much quicker with a Kitchen Aid.
Mix this for a minute or two and then add another 1/2 cup of flour. Mix this in and test the dough. If it’s ok, you can move on to kneading. If it’s still really sticky, you’ll want to add a little more flour – up to 1/2 cup more.
For kneading, you can either do this by hand for 6-8 minutes or continue using your dough hook (much preferred in my opinion.) With a mixer, “knead” for about 4-6 minutes. The dough will start pulling from the sides of the bowl.
That picture is kind of yucky – sorry about that. Lighting, camera, you know the deal. Anyways…
The dough above isn’t quite done yet. We want it to be smooth and elastic. I had to run the mixer for probably about 6 minutes total.
This is what it looks like when it’s done:
“Smooth and elastic” – see how it pulls away?
Great! The dough is done!
Now preheat your oven to 425° and pull out a couple cookie sheets. Line them with foil and spray them with non-stick cooking spray. Or grease them somehow. This is so important; do not skip this step! If you don’t do it, you’ll be scraping pans much later tonight. Trust me, learn from my past mistakes.
Now you can call the kids. Unless you were brave and had them help you make the dough. Or they were already hanging on you.
Now shape the dough into whatever you want! Nathan and Emily make letters, shapes, and of course pretzel twists. I love it too; it’s fun to mold that dough. It reminds me of playing with play-doh.
Nathan made this awesome twist all by himself:
We made a letter for each of the kids’ names. I just now realized we spelled out “J-E-N” below, lol. It was meant for Joshua, Emily, Nathan – with an L for Luke above
Now remember the egg at the beginning of the recipe? Now is when we need it. If you haven’t already, beat it.
With a pastry brush, brush the egg onto the pretzels. This will allow for the salt to stick plus add a nice golden color when the preztels are baked.
Sprinkle course salt over the pretzels. See how talented I am? I can shake salt and take a photo at the same time.
Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes each. You don’t want them to be overdone so check on them. When they are just beginning to turn golden, pull them out.
Cool on a wire rack.
Note: these pretzels don’t store well for long. Keep them in an air tight container and don’t plan on eating them past a day or so. They turn hard quickly. But they are so yummy! And the best part is watching the kids have fun!