At our house, we have a saying..."Don't yuk my yum!". We are trying to raise kids that aren't picky eaters by exposing them to many different kinds of food. It wasn't that long ago that one of my kids asked "Why can't you cook food like everyone else? Like tater tot hotdish?" The reason? It's not very healthy or creative and I think it's kind of gross. I don't cook like that. I like to use fresh, healthy ingredients to make great tasting good for you dishes. I've created this blog to share my favorite recipes with you.

Follow my kitchen adventures from using up vegetables from our weekly CSA box to baking and creative cooking.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Whenever we go to the mall, my kids beg me to buy them a hot pretzel.  Every time we walk down the freezer aisle at the grocery store, they ask for the frozen soft pretzels.  Sometimes I give in...they are pretty delicious, but they're kind of expensive.  The other day, I tried out a recipe I found for homemade soft pretzels and I may never buy soft pretzels again.  These are amazing.  Yes, they take a little time and there are a few steps involved, but I bet you could make a double batch and freeze the leftovers, reheating them in the microwave or oven.  This batch I made didn't last long enough for a visit to the freezer, so someday soon I'll have to make them again. 

Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 packet yeast
4 - 4 1/4 c. flour
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
8 c. water
1/2 c. baking soda
1 egg
Topping for pretzels:  sea salt, parmesan cheese, poppy seeds, italian seasoning

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  In large bowl, combine 2 c. flour with sugar and salt, adding yeast mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Add remaining flour and stir until a firm dough forms.  Knead on floured surface for about 5 minutes.  Coat dough ball with olive oil and cover.  Let rise in a warm place for one hour.  Punch down dough and divide into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into 18 inch ropes and shape into pretzels.  Meanwhile, boil water with baking soda.  Boil pretzels for 30 seconds each and remove to greased cookie sheet.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt, poppy seeds, parmesan cheese, etc.  Bake at 425 for 12 minutes.  Serve warm. 

The girls and I had these pretzels for an afternoon snack and ate the leftovers with chicken wild rice soup for supper.  I topped them with italian seasoning and salt this time and would definitely do that again.

I had to look up why the pretzels were boiled in the baking soda before baking and basically the answer is that they turn out better that way.  The cooking process starts in the boiling water, the pretzels get chewy, and the baking soda makes them brown and crackly on the outside.  If you don't boil them, they will be bready tasting pretzel shapes, but they won't be pretzels.  Trust me, it's worth the extra step.

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