Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kid food: Soft Pretzels Supreme

Sometimes on weekends, I fix a light supper and one of the kids' favorites is soft pretzels.  Let me show you how it's done:

 First, go up to the barn and fetch some grains you want to use in the pretzels.

Okay, yes, I'm kidding.  Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Soft Pretzels Supreme   (makes 16 pretzels, unless somebody eats too much dough)

You'll need :
1 Tbs. Dry Active Baking Yeast (or a packet)
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbs honey (I use agave syrup because it's better for cholesterol issues.)
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour (I use 2 cups whole wheat, 1 white, and 1/2 of a combination of mostly ground up rolled oats and whatever healthy substance I want to throw in.  In this case, I added sea kelp, lecithin granules, and ground flax mixed with nutritional yeast.) 
1/2 cup wheat germ or wheat bran
For the glaze: 1 egg beaten mixed with a Tbs. water
Whatever you want for topping: pretzel salt, sea salt, cinnamon sugar, etc.


First dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Ad the agave syrup or honey and stir slightly to mix.  Then set aside for about 5 minutes til it is bubbly.

In your mixing bowl, combine the flours and wheat bran and salt.

(Here is the extra ingredients I mentioned putting in with the oats: I added 2 Tbs. of ground flax which is loaded with benefits.  It is high in Vitamin E, a healer of all things.  Nutritional yeast is great for our bodies too, so I've mixed that with my flax, about 1 Tbs. of that.  In the little capless salt shaker is sea kelp.  Sea kelp is great for supplying iodine and since we don't eat iodized salt, I use that when I can; here, about 1 1/2 tsp.  Sea kelp is a monster of nutrition, but does not smell very good.  It's hard to get the taste past kids: "Here, guys, eat your seaweed, I mean food", so I ad it into things when I can get away with it. I wonder if I could grind up cooked liver and sneak that into foods without the kids noticing?  What about fish oil supplement.  Alright, I'll leave it alone.
  The second photo shows the lecithin granules, about 1 - 2 Tbs. worth.  Lecithin is also a great one for adjusting cholesterol and is loaded with all kinds of benefits.  I think it has something to do with being brain food, but I haven't had any today, so I can't remember.  I need lots of brain food.)

Ad the yeast water and stir to mix.  Then turn the mixer on until well blended.  I usually start out with the paddle...

and then switch to the dough arm when it gets hard for the machine to stir.  Continue this "kneading" by the mixer for about 5 minutes until well mixed together.

Let the whole thing take a nap for about an hour until it doubles in size.  Keeping it covered is a good thing: let's it rest in peace without any little faces seeing it and wanting to snatch some dough.

Go out and build a stone sidewalk while you wait,
or mow the yard, 
or take a walk, or nap,
or chase the kids around the house 15 times.
Yep, that's about what I get for a work-out these days.  

Ah, this stuff is looking very well rested.
Remove and punch to let it know you're still the boss.

Take the mass of dough and cut it in half,
then those two pieces in half,
and yet again with the four.
One more time, each of those 8 pieces in halves so that now you have 16 similar sized pieces of dough.
(I find if I just plop them onto the CLEAN kitchen table and roll them there, it's very easy and the clean-up is minor.)

Grab a blob, any blob, and start rolling til it's a nice pretty even rope. 

Take one end of the dough rope and make it turn upward and then come down into the middle.  Yes, I'm showing you these very detailed steps because it took me some thinking to figure out how to make this shape, and I thought I'd share my great accomplishment.

Pick up the other end of the rope and turn it upward and then down into the center.
(Sorry about the fingernails.  I was trying to cover up my badly stained nails from making applesauce and picking up walnuts, and the nail polish that I chose refused to adhere to such pathetic nails.)

Well, now, this looks like something. 

My children seem to know when I get to the rolling/shaping part of these. They appear from nowhere and take over.  Kids find this edible play dough irresistible.

Note: these silly bands on her arm are birthday presents from her aunt and cousins.  I am not responsible for this child's wrists.

Hey, now!  You're supposed to eat them after they are cooked!

Place the pretzels onto a greased cookie sheet.  Shapes and numbers can be made, but I enjoy the pretzel shape best; the others just don't seem to stay together much.  Now they need to rise another 20 minutes, but I find by the time we're finished with them all, the first half have been sitting around long enough to start the crucial element:

With a slotted spoon, drop a few pretzels into about 2 quarts or so of boiling water with about 3 Tbs. salt in it.  Boil for 1 minute.  This makes the pretzels get really puffy and gives them the soft/chewy taste.

Drain the pretzels well and then place them back onto the cookie sheet.  Paint with egg/water glaze.  Sprinkle with sea salt and then cook at 400 degrees F for about 15 - 20 minutes.  They'll be slightly browned when done.

Cool a little and then enjoy 
(and laugh quietly over by the stove because you know your kids are unknowingly eating their seaweed).

These are much better heated, so if there are left-overs, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator and heat them slightly in the microwave before eating.  The salt tends to melt away, but it's still there.

If you know of any great suggestions or if I typed something wrong, give me a shout.  Cooking is not my best feature.  (My incredibly hungry son might disagree about my cooking, but he's my sweetheart.)

This recipe is adapted from the soft pretzel recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family .


  1. Tonya, I loved your post, sweet pictures and seaweed comments included!

  2. Oh sweetie, this Ozark farm chick just popped over from Pioneer Woman and am so glad I did. What a great project for me to have durin' Camp Grandma (I have eight grandkiddos). What fun...throw in some left over fireworks and life just doesn't get any better. Thanks for the recipe girl.

    God bless ya'll from the happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa!!!

  3. Thank you, Debbie! I so appreciate your comment!
    And thank you, too, Nezzy. What a fun Grandma you sound like! Hope the pretzels are a great success and you have lots of memories of your great eight! Fireworks, OH BOY, FUN!!


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