What Kids Can Do:
* Measure out all ingredients.
* Blend yeast mixture, then flour mixture.
* Mix baking soda bath.
* Form and dip pretzels and sprinkle with salt.
1. Place yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large mixing bowl and stir. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. In another bowl, whisk 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt with the flour. Add to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time and mix until dough forms. Dust a work surface with flour and knead, squeezing dough with your hands, folding it over and pushing it down with the heel of your hand. Continue kneading for 8 to 10 minutes until dough feels smooth and flexible. If it feels too sticky to work with, add more flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time (slight stickiness is OK).
3. Wipe any dough from mixing bowl, then add oil to bowl. Use a paper towel to spread it around, coating the surface. Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
4. Punch down dough to remove excess air bubbles, then roll into a ball. Divide the ball into 12 equal pieces and place on a work surface. Rinse bowl, then make soda bath by adding baking soda and warm water to bowl. Mix and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray sheets with vegetable cooking spray.
6. To form a traditional pretzel shape, roll each piece of dough into a snake about 22 inches long. Form a letter U and cross the two ends over each other, once, then twice, to make a twist. Pull the ends down and attach them to the bottom of the U, pinching the dough so that it sticks together. Or make any other shapes you like letters, knots, circles. Experiment with different sizes, too.
7. Stir soda bath. Dip pretzels, one at a time, into mixture, then blot on a kitchen towel. Place 6 pretzels on each baking sheet. Sprinkle each pretzel with 1/8 tsp. of the salt and bake 12 minutes, or until pretzels are golden brown. Serve immediately.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, May - June 2009