Baking with kids can be tricky – timing can be difficult to coordinate with a budding chef's attention span. But these soft pretzels are a lot of fun to make with your little people because you can make it work for almost any age, skill, or level of interest.
Related Reading: Bread in a Bag is Another Fun to Try with Kids
Tips for making these (or baking anything) with children
1. Do the prep work first. I found that gathering all the ingredients (your start-up, if you like) before calling the kids into the kitchen is helpful. They don't want to wait for you to get things out of the pantry.
2. Even if you are a serious baker, relax. When tackling a cooking project with children, it is not the perfect result. It's about having fun together.
3. They are excited to help, so give them work to do. A 5-year-old can measure and throw flour (be prepared for a bit of a mess), and that's all he wants to do, while older children may want to do activities like rolling the mixer. If your kids like science, yeast activation is interesting, and you can go further by talking about how baking soda changes the alkalinity of the water bath and how that affects the Maillard (or golden) reaction while bake the pretzels. Younger children can form pretzel "snakes,quot; in unique shapes and try the crunchy salt. There is something for everyone.
Equipment you need to make soft pretzels
Homemade soft pretzel ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 ° to 115 ° F) of water
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- 1 package of dry active yeast (2 ½ teaspoons)
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4 1/2 cups
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray
- 10 cups of water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
- Pretzel salt (to cover)
Steps to make soft pretzels
one) In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar and yeast, stirring gently to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour, salt and butter. Use the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and separates from side of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough, clean the bowl, and then grease with a little vegetable oil or spray oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
2) Preheat oven to 450 ° F. Cover 2 half-sheet trays with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet and brush lightly with vegetable oil or lightly coat with spray oil.
3) Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan. Gently beat an egg yolk and water and set aside.
4) While the water is heating, roll the dough onto a lightly greased work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece of dough on a rope approximately 24 ”long (see note). Make a U shape with the dough rope, and holding the ends, cross them over each other and press the bottom of the U to form the shape of a pretzel. Place in prepared half-pan.
5) Lower the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 30 seconds each, turning them over with a half-slotted spoon. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or spider, allowing excess water to drain.
6) Brush each pretzel with the mixture of beaten egg yolk and water and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
In step 4, young bakers can find this great piece of dough challenging, so tailor as needed, in 12 "or even 6,quot; lengths. They may like to stretch it into a "snake,quot; and then "chop,quot; them into 1 or 2-inch pieces of pretzel, which are easier to handle and more fun to dip.
How to serve soft pretzels
Serve with dipping sauces, such as slightly warm Nutella; a simple cheese sauce or Cheese Whiz; your favorite mustards; heated peanut butter and / or jam; or whatever you (or your little chefs) dream of. Enjoy!
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