Monday, August 29, 2011

Soft Pretzels

So this recipe comes from my other life, my 9-5 life (err, 8-3 life)...the one in which I can rattle off the names of a good 15 dinosaur species, make play-dough snakes, dance to a song about rocket ships, and wipe away countless tears, all in the name of making a living.  In my Pre-K classroom, we do a lot of cooking.  I love sharing my joy in cooking with my students, and it's also a great, authentic way for them to learn about math, literacy, and taking turns.  Out of all of the recipes we make, this is the one recipe that a good 98% of the children will actually eat very, very happily.

That's probably because the pretzels are really white.  And if I've learned one thing about feeding small people, it's that they have a natural inclination towards white foods.

This is really quick, easy, and fun to make, no matter how old you are.  My husband and I had a great time shaping pretzels while Irene cooped us up in the house for the day.  For kids, you can give them the dough to play with and shape however they'd like -- like play-dough.  Alphabet letter pretzels are always fun!

I've always made these with all purpose flour, but it would be fun and healthy to mix in a little whole wheat flour.  I think my husband and I would be happy with 100% whole wheat, but for my students, I'd try half whole wheat flour and half all purpose.  You can top these with salt -- coarse or kosher salts are best.  Little and big people also really like cinnamon-sugar blends.  I'm really curious to try them with a little Parmesan cheese or garlic or other herbs.

Soft Pretzels
yields 16 or so small pretzels
from Mudworks, by MaryAnn Kohl
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
1 egg (optional)
coarse salt, or sugar and cinnamon mix (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast.  Pour the warm water on top, and stir until softened.
3. Add in the sugar, salt, and the four cups of flour.  Knead with your hands until dough forms a solid ball.  If it is sticking to your hands, add a little more flour.
4. Shape into pretzels, or any other shape you desire.  You want each pretzel to be about the same size so none will burn.  When working with children, I give them dough balls that are all the same size, which helps.
5. Beat the egg, and brush over the pretzels, if desired.
6. Sprinkle with any chosen toppings.
7. Bake 15-20 minutes.  Serve warm.

Find more yummy treats at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms.


  1. I thought about making pretzels during the hurricane too, but I took on way too many other projects! So these don't have to be poached? So interesting.

  2. Hi Megan -- well, there is not a lot of poaching in preschool! The recipe actually comes from one of my teaching books. I'm sure they'd be great poached, but I really, really like them the way they are.

  3. I love making pretzels. Bet your kiddies love these!

  4. homemade pretzels are one of my favorite things ever- these look amazing!

  5. Fun recipe. I love that this is a yeast recipe, but you don't need to let it rise. Homemade pretzels are definitely a good treat for the kiddos. Very interesting about white food - I have never thought about it, but I imagine you are right! Will have to test that one out. That might explain the fact that my kids would eat noodles at every meal if I were to let them.

  6. I had been looking for something along these lines all over the web... thanks for sharing!!!


  7. I've been wanting to try homemade pretzels for a while (my husband loves them!) This is a less complicated recipe than most I've seen. I have an almost 4 year old that would have a blast shaping these!

  8. I'm going to try these with a little whole wheat flour! Can't wait.

  9. alphabet pretzels would also be fun for big kids :)

  10. Great job on these soft pretzels, they look so delicious! They are a lot of fun to make, especially for kids I'm sure, and even more fun to eat!

  11. I can see why the kids love making them as well as eating them! They are one of my favorite snacks - I've had them on my recipe list forever. You make them look so easy to make!

  12. I LOVE that you cook with your students! Such a great thing to instill in them...a love of good home-cooked food. These pretzels look delicious!

  13. This is the easiest pretzel recipe I have ever seen. I might have to play with it to check it out. Thanks!