In Germany, pretzels come in many varieties including flakey, sweet dessert pretzels. Although the orgin of the pretzel is widely debated, most people agree that the pretzel was born as a symbolic treat to celebrate Christian holidays. (The crossed dough symbolizing arms crossed over the chest.)
Although their beginnings are unknown, they have become rooted in German speaking cultures and have been part of German baking traditions for centuries. This recipe is easy and would also be a fun way to introduce the chemical reactions of baking soda to your children. :)
And feel free to experiment. Maybe mixing some spices into the dough or sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter, softened
5.5 ounces water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp butter, melted
coarse sea salt
In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, yeast, sugar, softened butter and 5.5 ounces of water. Let stand until mixture is bubbly (about 10 minutes). Stir in kosher salt and then gradually add remaining flour.
Knead the dough until springy, about 4.5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Divide the dough into pieces - the size of which depends on how big you want your pretzel to be. Allow the pieces to rest for about 2 minutes. Roll out each piece into a long rope and twist into your pretzel shape.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring the remaining water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda to the water and lower heat. Soak each pretzel in the water bath for about 30-45 seconds, flipping over halfway through. The pretzels will grow to about twice their original size.
Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.
It's time to eat!