Kid bakers will love to roll out and hand-twist this easy pretzel dough. It is the perfect first bread baking recipe for kids.
I have heard people say that baking homemade pretzels is so easy but I guess I was always just a little skeptical. How on earth could something so pretty and twisty be easy?
Just before Christmas, Little Pea and I decided to try our hand at rolling up a batch of pretzels. I used a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 12 equal portions for rolling. We each took a turn at trying one and wouldn’t you know that little stinker ended up fighting me for the remaining balls of dough??
She had SO much fun channeling her inner Bavarian maiden and very quickly became the family expert in the proper shaping of pretzels.
She was so excited to share her tricks with big sis that we tried it again for our New York themed book club party last month.
I mean, what’s more fun for a New York party than BIG, huge, salty hot pretzels like you get from the street carts??
RELATED: Check out our full New York party theme menu here.
If you’d like to try it with your kids, there are definitely a few tricks you need to know in order to keep the peace, avoid fighting over each of the steps, and keep your kitchen safe.
How to make easy homemade pretzels with kids:
I confess it was a little easier baking with just one kid vs. both of my girls. They were both so excited to do the baking that hey bickered over who got to do each step.
Here are some great tricks for helping you to navigate the baking with your kids:
Step 1: Prepare the dough first, kids can help
Despite the fact that the pretzels have yeast, they don’t really need to rise like traditional bread. There’s just a brief 10-minute period that the dough rests before shaping.
You can divide the dough-making tasks among kids like this:
Kid 1: Gets to help make the dough with the mixer
Kid 2: Gets to help knead the dough on a floured surface
Step 2: While the dough rests, have an adult prepare the water bath
The key to that golden brown crunchy exterior of the pretzels is a brief dunk in a boiling water bath with baking soda.
SAFETY NOTE!: Be sure to add the baking soda to the water BEFORE you bring it to a boil. I mistakenly added it to the already-boiling water the second time we made them and it was practically a volcanic explosion on my stovetop!
Step 3: Kids roll, Adult dunks
Evenly divide the dough into 12 portions. Give each kid an equal amount of dough balls for rolling. (Adult helper takes any spares to keep it even.) Then roll and shape each pretzel. The kids will have SO much fun with this part.
Be sure the adult is the one to do the water bath dunking. Use a slotted spoon to place each rolled pretzel into the water for just 20 – 30 seconds. Scoop it out of the water, drain it off, and place it on a prepared baking sheet.
The kids can sprinkle the salt over the top of each pretzel while they are still damp from the water bath.
Only a little more than one hour to tasty pretzels:
From the time we started to the time we had the last pan washed, I really only think the pretzels took an hour and a half to bake. They were such a fun experience and the kids think they taste better than anything we’ve gotten at the grocery store!
- 1 1/2 cup warm water (straight from your kitchen tap, no need to test the temperature)
- 1 packet active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp yeast from a jar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 3/4 - 4 cups flour
- kosher salt for sprinkling on top
For the water bath:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 9 cups water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Measure the warm water into a measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast into the water. Stir it together with a fork and let it sit for one minute.
- Add the salt, brown sugar, and melted butter to the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. Pour the yeast and water into the bowl and whisk them together.
- Add 3 cups of the flour just one cup at a time to the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, use the dough hook to beat it together between each addition.
- Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and then test to see how sticky the dough is. You can add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more flour if it sticks to your fingers. Be careful to add just enough. You can. always add more, but can't take it back out.
- When the dough bounces back when pushed, it is ready to knead. Place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and then shape it into a ball. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes while an adult prepares the water bath.
PREPARE THE WATER BATH:
- Add 1/2 cup baking soda to 9 cups of water and whisk together. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
ROLL THE PRETZELS:
- Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 12 equal portions.
- Roll each dough ball into a 20 - 22-inch snake. Take each end of the snake and pull them up, around, and down with a twist to form the pretzels.
- Pinch the ends of the pretzel to the dough to hold.
DUNK AND BAKE:
- The adult should use a slotted spoon to dunk each pretzel for just 20 - 30 seconds in the hot water bath. Drain the water and place the pretzel on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle kosher salt on the pretzels while they are still damp so the salt will stick.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown.
The pretzels are best on the day they are made but can keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.