a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Mar, 2010

Make pretzels tonight! (a.k.a. A Really Great Pretzel Recipe)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - iKnead

There are two kinds of pretzels: the small, hard and crunchy and the big, soft and chewy. This recipe is for the latter. It uses the traditional “Montreal-style” boil n’ bake method (much like bagels are made).

In a word (or three): Delicious. Comfort. Soul. 

Sometimes we make pretzels for dinner and serve them with soup and cut up veggies.

Not only are these easy to make, but it’s the perfect kind of recipe if you want to get the kids in the kitchen.

First, a pretzel memory.

The four of us were in Florida, at the Kennedy Space Centre. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were halfway through the tour. We stopped at an outdoor snack bar for a bite to eat. Mark bought everyone a giant pretzel. (I can’t remember but I hope to god the girls split one – they were so big.)

Here’s Mark posing with his:

And here's the giant pretzel!

Mere seconds after this photo was taken, some birds (pictured here) swooped down and stole a chunk of it, right out of his hands. The girls were so afraid of losing their pretzels that they ate theirs under cover from that point onward.

Thankfully, no one was hurt or traumatized on that day. :)

As you can see, pretzels figure quite prominently in the history of our family. And hopefully they will figure prominently in yours (but without all the birds, of course).

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Big Soft Pretzels

You will need:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt and/or caraway seeds (to taste – this is for sprinkling on top of each pretzel)

parchment paper or silpat mat

In a measuring cup, stir the sugar and yeast with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let stand until foamy, betwen 5 and 10 minutes. (If you don’t see any foam it means your yeast is no good, so pitch it and get some new stuff.)

Whisk together the flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until it holds together and forms a ragged kind of dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes until smooth and slightly tacky. (Note: you can also use a dough-hook on an electric mixer.)

Put your ball of dough into a clean bowl that has been greased with a bit of olive oil. Turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean floured tea towel and let rise in a draft-free place for about 45 minutes. It will double in size.

Friday March 26, 2010 Turn out onto clean work surface and cut (don’t tear) into 8 pieces. Bring in the kids! Using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a snake that measures about 24 inches. This might be tricky, because your dough will want to retract. But stay with it. Twist into pretzel shapes (or any shape for that matter)!

Let pretzels sit, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°.

Get a large pot of water boiling on stove. Carefully boil each pretzel for about 3 minutes (I do it in batches of two or three), turning each one over at the halfway point. The pretzels will puff up quite nicely in the water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to your cookie sheet. (I cover my cookie sheet with a little mat, but you can use lightly oiled parchment paper too.)

Brush each pretzel with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of the coarse salt and the caraway seeds (optional but yummy). Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm.

Note! These pretzels are best the day they are made. If your family can’t eat all eight in one sitting, wrap the rest in a brown paper bag and save them for school lunches the next day. They’ll be a little chewier, but are still very good. :)


10 Responses to "Make pretzels tonight! (a.k.a. A Really Great Pretzel Recipe)"

1 | @WannabeMomErin

March 29th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

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I love pretzels. I’ll make a point of trying this recipe out. In fact, it sounds like the perfect mother/daughter activity for me to do with my mom.

2 | Finola

March 29th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

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Sounds delicious! I have to admit you lost me at the yeast part because I really don’t cook much or well, but you almost make me want to take it up :)

3 | andrea

March 29th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

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Finola: I never really used to bake much either, but I wanted fresh baked bread so badly I decided it was time to learn. This recipe is really easy! You should try it.

I have a great new bread book and have been itching to try it. I hope to be posting more recipes and ideas soon!

4 | Nadine C.

March 30th, 2010 at 11:55 am

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We tried your recipe yesterday and our batch tasted amazing! Not as slender and perfect looking as on the picture but definitely delicious! Thanks for sharing it!

5 | Michael Cavinta

September 15th, 2010 at 11:52 am

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Wow! Thanks for the awesome recipe. That is one big pretzel. I would surely give this a try as I would love to serve this to my family. Im also sure that this would go very well with a hot cup of coffee made from my espresso stove top coffee maker at home. Kudos!

6 | Sarah nukes an egg >> a peek inside the fishbowl

September 25th, 2010 at 10:08 am

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[…] or declassé, but after I’ve beaten an egg and used it for an egg wash (say, for a bread or pretzel recipe) it pains me to flush the remainder down the sink. So I eat it. I throw it in the microwave […]

7 | Bekka

October 2nd, 2010 at 3:43 am

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We loved eating these round walt disney world in florida, i thought i’d find the recipe. This one worked very well! Thanks for sharing :)

8 | A really great recipe for beef stew. Tried and true. (Hey, I'm a poet.) >> a peek inside the fishbowl

October 2nd, 2010 at 7:21 am

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[…] served it with homemade pretzels, half of which were pizza-style à la Scattered Mom. OF COURSE everyone liked […]

9 | Mary @ Parenthood

January 27th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

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That picture makes me hungry just looking at it. Almost makes me want to see if I can find the energy to try a gluten free version.

I bake a lot but pretzels intimidate me for some reason.

10 | Phoebe

September 3rd, 2012 at 11:37 pm

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This is a great recipie, I made two huge pretzels for a couple of friends and they said they tasted amazing :)

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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