I love baking but most of the year there is just too much to do relating to the garden. But in the winter, I’m freed to spend time with the oven! When it comes to baking, I seem to especially enjoy trying new recipes for complicated things that are cheap to buy already-made, ha ha. In keeping with that, last weekend I tried my hand at making soft pretzels. They turned out to be fun to make and tasted great. The biggest challenge of making them was not eating all of them in one sitting.
Baking pretzels takes a few hours, but they taste a lot better than the frozen ones you buy at the grocery store. And if you have children at home it could be a fun project to take on together. Here’s the recipe I used. I hope you will give it a try.
Soft Pretzel Bites
1 cup warm water (I used zucchini milk)
1 tablespoon sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Combine warm water (or zucchini milk) and sugar. Make sure your water isn’t too hot – 100-105 F is fine. Stir in yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the white whole wheat flour, salt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium bowl or in your KitchenAid mixer. Add water/yeast to the flour mixture and mix together well. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead in your Kitchen Aid with the dough hook or with your hands until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover bowl with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
Grease two cookie sheets. Punch dough down. Separate dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a rope of 10-12 inches. Lay ropes on cookie sheet and let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.
After dough has risen again, use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut your ropes into 2-inch pieces. Meanwhile, add baking soda to 6 cups of water in a medium or large pot and bring to a boil. Drop pretzels into the boiling water 15-20 at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds and remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Return them to the greased cookie sheets and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven. Brush tops of pretzels with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Return to oven and bake an additional 2-4 minutes until browned. Serve while warm with dipping sauce. To make dipping sauce just combine the mustard and the mayonnaise.
Makes about 5 dozen pretzel bites. They will keep in an airtight container for up to one week, but I bet you will finish them the first day!
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