Today we tried our hand at pretzels. They are a fabulous and cheap snack, though they do take a bit of time. So, if you have a couple hours and some patience, go for it! Besides, by the time you get to the mall and make it through the crowds, you could be eating a whole dozen on your couch instead.
First, heat 1 1/2 c water to 110 F. Then, dissolve 2 1/2 tsp yeast (or 1 packet) and 1 T brown sugar. Let this sit 5 min until it's nice and frothy.
Meanwhile, measure 4 1/4 c unbleached flour and 1 tsp salt to a bowl. Pour your yeast mixture over it, and mix just until it will form a ball.
Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and need until smooth, approx 7-8 min. If you're not accustomed to kneading dough, enlist some help. Place ball of dough into a greased bowl. Turn dough/grease top. Cover and place in a warm location for approx 1 hr.
(I can't find this photo. I have cute retro yellow/lime checkered and striped retro towels, oh well.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal amounts. I divide it in 1/2, then 1/3, then 1/2 again. They're almost equal.
Next, roll these little balls into long ropes.
Feel free to enlist help for this as well. The little folk will think you are the greatest.
Then twist/tie the ropes into pretzel shapes. Don't worry what they look like. We clearly didn't!
Some of them ended up more like the little balls we started with than pretzels.
Now boil a pot with 6 c water and 1/2 c baking soda. Place each pretzel in the water for approx 10 seconds. Look at that beautiful steam.
Drain as much water as you can, and place each pretzel on a greased baking sheet.
Bake in a 425 F oven for approx 7-8 min, until a beautiful golden brown color.
Paint them with a little melted butter.
Then salt them. Hurry! Before the butter dries. But please use Kosher salt. If you don't you'll regret it. Unless you don't have any and you really want to make pretzels anyway.
Wow, look at my hands. Yes, it is a cold Indiana winter, but I do put on lotion at least a dozen times a day. Anyway, you could sprinkle your pretzel with cinnamon sugar instead. I personally am a traditionalist and like some salt and a good quality mustard.
Bear urges you to go the sugar route.