Cold Weather, Hot Pretzels - FamilyEducation

Cold Weather, Hot Pretzels

February 22,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

So here we are, in the last week of February. I can take a lot of snow in December, January and February. Heck, to me, snow in the winter is the “way things should be,” and par for the course living in Ohio. But as we enter into near-March territory, I start itching for Spring. But with the weather still firmly stuck in a winter mode, I wanted to share one of our family’s favorite activities to do when it’s snowy and cold outside. What kid doesn’t enjoy playing with Playdoh? I am sure there are some children out there that might not be that into Playdoh, but for the most part, playing with dough is good fun for children, and dare I say, adults too. With this in mind, my children love making homemade hot pretzels. It is a fun, creative and not-too-difficult way to jazz up a dreary afternoon. Homemade Hot Pretzels Dough: 1 cup water (105-115 degrees--just do it by "feel"--hot, but not scalding water from the tap) 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) 2 cup white flour 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or just use white) 2 tablespoons butter, softened 1/2 teaspons salt 1 tablespoon white sugar Boiling Solution: 4 cup water 5 teaspoons baking soda Topping: kosher salt for sprinkling If you have a stand mixer or food processor, mix the water and yeast together and let stand for 5 minutes. While the yeast is dissolving, mix the 4 cups of water and baking soda together in a small sauce pan on the stove for later. Once the yeast is dissolved, add 2 cups of flour, soft butter, salt and sugar and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add additional 3/4 c flour and knead for 1 minute. Touch the dough. Is it sticky? Add a little more flour until the dough is moist but does not stick to your fingers. Place the dough in a bowl, spray the inside of the bowl with some cooking spray and cover to let rise, about 1 hour. Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 18 inch length, and twist to make into a pretzel shape, or get creative and do whatever shape you would like. Place on a floured plate while you make the other shapes. Once all the pretzels are formed, cover and let them rise for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the water and baking soda mixture to a boil to prep for dunking. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Once the pretzels have risen again, dunk each in the boiling mixture for about 30 seconds, before placing them on a baking sheet and sprinkling each with kosher salt. Bake until crispy and golden, about 12 minutes. Yum, yum! Makes 12 pretzels. SPC