Included in the article was an easy recipe for soft pretzels that my twin sister and I immediately tried. My mom was always so great about giving us free reign of the kitchen. We just had to be sure to clean up our messes.
The pretzels were fantastic. We had never tasted a soft pretzel before and we felt special making something not even available in our small town. Believe me, those pretzels you can now buy at malls and ballparks have nothing on these. Soft pretzels should not be covered in melted butter — Mustard, yes. Butter, no.
These Pennsylvanian pretzels are the real deal. It was after all, the German and Swiss German immigrants, who later became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, who introduced the pretzel to North America.
They are easy to make and my kids now love them as much as I did. I hope you do too.
(Makes about 16 pretzels)
1/8 cup hot water
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 to 5 cups flour
Coarse kosher salt
Heat the oven to 475 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix hot water and yeast until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the warm water and the brown sugar.
Slowly add the flour, one cup at a time, to the mixture, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
Put dough on a lightly floured board. Dip your hands in the extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands. Turn the dough as you work.
Grease two cookie sheets very well. Sprinkle each with coarse kosher salt. Set the sheets aside. Pinch off a piece of pretzel dough about the size of a golf ball.
To shape a pretzel:
- Roll the dough into a rope 14 inches long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the rope into a "U" shape.
- Cross one end of the rope over the other end. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips.
- Fold the ends back toward the middle of the "U". Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly.
|My now 18-year-old daughter Una drew these helpful pretzel making pictures when she was in third grade.|
Repeat until all the dough is used. Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown.
|Ready to be dropped for 30 seconds into simmering baking soda infused water.|
|Yum! A fresh baked pretzel with yellow mustard.|
|My daughter Una enjoying a bite.|