Sometimes you just need a taste of childhood. I made these soft pretzels last week, and they totally hit the spot. Added bonus, my 12 year old brother loved them. If anything is Riley approved, I know your kids will like them too.
2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp oil
For the glaze:
1/2 tsp baking soda
Coarse sea salt
1 egg, beaten (optional)
Cinnamon and Sugar mixture
Cream Cheese for dipping
1. Combine the two types of flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle the yeast over 1 1/4 cups warm water. Stir, and leave for 5 minutes, then add the oil.
3. Gradually pour the liquid into the flour mixture, stirring to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth, soft, and pliable. Transfer to an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until nearly doubled in size.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knock back. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, using a sharp knife to cut.
5. Take each piece of dough and roll it under your palm to make a log shape. Using your palms, continue to roll the dough toward each end, until it is 18 in (45 cm) long. If it is difficult to stretch, hold by either end and rotate in a looping action, like a jump rope.
6. Take each end of the dough and cross them over each other, forming roughly a heart shape. Now twist the ends around each other, as though they had linked arms. Secure the ends to the sides of the pretzel, it will appear quite loose at this stage. (To simplify, cut into 1 inch pieces and make pretzel bites instead).
7. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes, until puffed up.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix the baking soda in 2 tablespoon boiling water. Brush the pretzels with the mixture. This will give them a dark color and chewy exterior. Sprinkle with sea salt or sesame seeds.
9. Bake for 20 minutes. (If you want a darker, shiner exterior, remove from oven after 15 minutes and brush with beaten egg, then continue baking for the additional 5 minutes.)
10. Remove from the oven. Pretzels should be golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
11. If you would like to top them, brush with melted butter and dip in, or sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or cinnamon and sugar mix.
I like to dip mine in cream cheese, or frosting for the cinnamon bagels. Really, this is where your own creativity comes in. They are so basic, that they can be topped with and dipped in, whatever is your favorite.