Friday, March 6, 2009

Pretzels for Lent

My oldest gave up desserts for Lent. I've been feeling sorry for her ever since Ash Wednesday. She never complains, but I still find myself resisting baking cookies or serving ice cream so as not to make her Lenten sacrifice worse than it needs to be.

Today the kids and I decided to participate in that centuries-old Lenten tradition: pretzel baking. These could hardly be considered dessert, yet would be a bit of a treat. I dug up a couple of recipes and set my chefs to work.

Laurel and Sean took turns stirring the wet ingredients, while Holly measured out the dry ingredients.

We dumped the wet into the dry and then took turns kneading the dough. This was a messy endeavor!

Sean found kneading easier when the bowl was placed in the sink.

Eventually the dough came together into a smooth, elastic mass. When that happened, we transferred it to a larger, greased bowl to rise. We placed it in the oven to rise for thirty minutes with only the oven light on for warmth.

Liam really, really wanted the "light OFF", and so this step was a bit more challenging than I had anticipated.


"What's wrong with you? I said, 'OFF!'"

While the dough was rising, I got the soda-bath ready. This is where the newly-formed pretzels would be plunged until they floated back to the surface, ready for the oven.

Rolling out the dough was a lot of fun. Sean (6) had some trouble with sticking, so after a few attempts I rolled and he twisted.

The girls (10 and 13) had no trouble rolling out the dough.

Laurel's latest nail designs.

Each pretzel got a soda bath. This one looks more like a blob, but I'm sure it was yummy.

After boiling, they went into a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Once out of the oven they each got a slight coating of melted butter and were then sprinkled with one of three toppings: Parmesan cheese, coarse salt, or sesame seeds.

I found a recipe at that I tweaked just a little. If I ever make these again (and the kids are already asking when we can do it again!) I will either use Reynold's Release wrap on the baking sheet, or else I will grease the baking sheet. I really hate the process of greasing bakeware, so I always use parchment instead. Usually this works great. This time, it was a bit of a disaster. The pretzels stuck like glue to the parchment. By the time I discovered the error of my ways, I had only enough dough for three more pretzels but those got the royal Reynold's Release wrap treatment. They slid off the pan like nobody's business.

These came out a little darker than I prefer, but I think it had more to do with the scant number of pretzels on the pan rather than what was used to coat the pan.

Not the most beautiful, but delicious nonetheless.

1 comment:

Katie said...

That looked like fun. I might try that with my kids.