Nick is the bread baker in this marriage, but he was busy buying beer and tenderizing meat on Saturday morning, so it was just me and the flour and the yeast. Water, sugar, salt, eggs, oil, and baking soda were also invited.
I followed a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, though it took my dough at least twice as long to rise. Perhaps it wasn’t warm enough in our kitchen. Fortunately, the dough was ready to cut and roll and shape with a few hours to spare.
I couldn’t help but smile after I twisted my first tiny pretzel. I even called Nick in from the garage to admire my artistry.
The boiling and baking process is very similar to the directions I followed last Christmas Eve when I made these ham and cheese pretzel bites.
Poach for 1 minute on each side. Brush with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.
And then try to keep them out of everyone’s paws until the party starts, which may have been the most challenging part of the process surrounded by a family like mine.
Makes 50 mini pretzels.
- 2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- Coarse salt
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.
- Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and mix on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.
- Pour oil into a large bowl, and swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 450°. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (or use parchment paper). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, and divide into 50 pieces (if making miniature pretzels), and wrap in plastic.
- Roll one piece of dough at a time into a 12-inch-long strip. Twist into pretzel shape, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; eight will fit on each sheet. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly!) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer, and transfer four to six pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
- Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Note: Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy. (Thanks for the tip, Smitten Kitchen!)
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)