By Kevin Williams
Pretzels occupy too much space in my memory bank. Before Auntie Anne's and her pretzel dogs came along, there was a chain of mall soft-pretzel restaurants known as Hot Sam. You could go to Hot Sam's and get a steaming pretzel and some cheese dip. Yum. I think there was also another store called "Pretzel Logic." I am still waiting for the Amish-themed Ben's Pretzels to come to my part of Ohio.
In homage to our household's pretzel affection, Aster and Rachel whipped up some homemade pretzels last night. Both a savory pretzel and a sweet, dessert pretzel. Aster enjoyed rolling out the pretzel dough. She already has her own fond pretzel memories. Back in 2015 I took Aster to a train show in Dayton, Ohio. And while we were there we had a snack of a warm, soft pretzel. It was a fun time together, our first real father-daughter outing. What does she remember all this time later? The trains? Well, yes, but it's that pretzel that she still talks about the most!
I am still waiting for Ben's Pretzel making kit to be made available on Amazon, but it is not yet. Auntie Anne's does have a kit available if you want homemade pretzels like you get from there. Otherwise, try this recipe for pretzels from the Amish Cook archives!
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup warm but not hot water
- 1¾ cups bread flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- coarse salt for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt and warm water. Stir in the flour until a rough ball forms.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead with lightly floured hands until smooth (about 5 to 8 minutes).
- Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll each into a rope about 10 inches long. Shape into pretzel forms (see photo above). Brush the pretzels with the egg and sprinkle with the salt. Bake until barely light golden, about 10 minutes.
How about some other recipes from our "Pretzel Hall of Fame?"
CARAMEL-WRAPPED, CHOCOLATE-DIPPED PRETZELS: These were amazingly popular on Amish365 several years ago, let's revisit the recipe. Click here!
I have to confess I have never tried making homemade pretzels , but I am going to give these a try. I think I always hesitated as the recipes I read involved dipping the pretzels into boiling baking soda water prior to baking and brushing with beaten egg. It just seemed more complicated than I wanted to fool with. While on vacation one summer I remember touring a pretzel factory. I can't recall the town but would have been in the Lancaster PA area. They gave us a "lump" of dough and let us hand roll a pretzel. I recall buying the pretzel rods from a large canister with a red lid at out local swimming pool. They were 2 cents each but that was in the fifties.
My wife kind of felt the way you do, Nana, which is that it was a lot of work for something that you could buy just as cheaply and often tastier. She had fun making the pretzels with Aster and the final product was good, but Auntie Anne's, well, you can't beat her pretzels!
Love pretzels. Such a cute picture of Aster.