Eleven-year-old Kelly came over to visit this afternoon, with her heart set on making “big fat pretzels” — her current fav snack food.
Unfortunately, my old recipe called for the dough to rise for at least an hour, a luxury of time that we just didn’t have today.
With a few kitchen science experiments, however, we came up with a new recipe for Soft Pretzels. This is quick enough not to try the patience of a pre-teen cook, and yummy enough to please all of our eager taste-testers. (They certainly disappeared fast enough!)
I like my pretzels topped with the traditional coarse salt, but young Kelly put cinnamon sugar on hers and we tossed around ideas for other toppings, like grated cheese, poppy seeds, even shredded onion and garlic in oil… There’s lots of scope for culinary imagination here, to suit every taste in pretzels!
No-Rise Soft Homemade Pretzels
4 – 4½ cups flour, divided
1 package active (‘quick’) dry yeast
1½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1½ cups very warm water
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp water
coarse salt (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a baking sheet (or use a non-stick pan). Have ready a pot of boiling salted water.
Put 2 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water. Mix well for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Gradually add the remaining 2 – 2½ cups flour, kneading in as much flour as needed to make a smooth soft dough.
Divide the dough evenly into 16 pieces. Roll each piece between your hands to make a foot-long rope, and twist it into a pretzel shape.
Drop the pretzels a few at a time into the pot of boiling water, and cook for 2 minutes, turning over once. Lift them out on a slotted spoon or spatula and set on a wire rack to drain, then transfer to the baking sheet.
Mix together the egg yolk and 1 Tbsp of water, and brush onto each pretzel. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.
Bake at 400°F for 18 – 20 minutes, until golden brown.