Enjoy the smell and feel the warmth of something special baking in your oven this week. These Austrian-style soft pretzels are a healthy and satisfying snack dipped in yummy mustard or as a unique accompaniment to a big bowl of soup.
They also can be sliced in half while still warm for a tasty slider-style Reuben sandwich.
Making them is so easy, even your preschoolers can get in on the action, twisting and turning the soft dough. If you provide daycare in your home, the kids will keep busy creating their own shape or design for a unique treat fresh from their imagination. They are fun to make and bake at a birthday party or a sleepover, too.
My shortcut method uses prepared bread dough from the freezer section of your grocery store.
EASY SOFT PRETZELS
All-purpose flour for flouring work surface
1 pound frozen white or whole-wheat bread dough, thawed
1 slightly beaten egg white
Coarse salt, sesame seeds, caraway seeds or cinnamon sugar for toppings
Mustard, for dipping (optional)
- Place the thawed dough on a floured cutting board or kitchen counter. Cut it into 12 equal pieces, and let the creativity begin.
- Sprinkle flour on your hands and roll the pieces into a 1/2-inch thick by 18-inch-long rope. Hold the ends with two hands and flip it around and around like a jump rope to help lengthen it. For a standard pretzel design, make a U shape with the rope and set it on the surface. Hold each end of the U, cross the rope over and twist the ends around each other one time, leaving about 2 inches from the crossing point to the tips. Lift and press the ends onto the curved bottom of the U to form the pretzel. For a variation, make alphabet letter shapes or simple designs like a heart.
- Transfer pretzels to a greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Let your child brush each pretzel with egg white and top with salt or other toppings.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until browned. Cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm. Best if eaten the same day.
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© 2022 Donna Erickson
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