The author and cook, Heather

Soft Pretzels

The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs

Soft pretzels are one of my favorite street foods. We went to an amusement park recently and I ate two of them in one day (I did share at least one of those!) The standard recipe has you boil them before baking, much like a bagel, which can be a little difficult. This one is aimed at younger cooks and so reduces the risk of burning yourself by using a baking soda wash instead, which worked out pretty well for us.

You can find the full recipe on the ATK website here:

Serving Size1 pretzel
Carbohydrates40g (1g fiber, 0g sugar)


[00:00]: foreign
[00:06]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:08]: with Heather today we're going to be
[00:09]: working again well not again actually
[00:11]: this is the first first for this book
[00:13]: but we're going to be working with my my
[00:15]: mini Chef here uh my son who is eight by
[00:19]: the way and we're going to be working
[00:21]: from the complete baking book for young
[00:24]: chefs uh it's a America's Test Kitchen
[00:27]: cookbook and it's pretty good for kids
[00:30]: and in fact
[00:32]: um we've cooked from this a little bit
[00:33]: before already and we like it and we
[00:36]: cook from another book do I have it here
[00:40]: right here the first recipe we made with
[00:44]: this little guy was uh not so little guy
[00:47]: was from the mine Crafters cookbook but
[00:49]: we're using a different cookbook this
[00:51]: time these are two books that
[00:53]: he has that we like
[00:56]: um we've got another one too but we
[00:57]: haven't
[00:59]: got another America's Test Kitchen book
[01:01]: but we haven't uh done any of that on
[01:03]: this show yet we'll see but he's been
[01:05]: wanting to make soft pretzels and
[01:08]: there's a recipe in here
[01:11]: um so that's what we're gonna be doing
[01:13]: are you ready yeah all right
[01:16]: so what do we do first we
[01:19]: for the dough in a bowl of standard
[01:23]: mixer whisked together flour yeast and
[01:26]: kosher salt all right so we've got our
[01:28]: stand mixer and we've got our dough
[01:30]: attachment on here already because
[01:32]: that's what we're gonna need but first
[01:35]: a little stuff out of our Bowl
[01:39]: um we're going to combine those
[01:41]: ingredients with just a whisk which
[01:43]: we're going to use again first so what
[01:46]: do we put in here flour this is bread
[01:49]: flour which we measured by weight but we
[01:53]: measured this by weight instead of by
[01:55]: volume so salt and and so this is kosher
[02:00]: salt
[02:04]: this is my standard diamond crystal
[02:05]: kosher salt let me have that and then
[02:08]: that is a yeast
[02:11]: it calls for Rapid rise or instant or
[02:15]: rapid Rises that's right and so this is
[02:18]: whatever we had which is what we use all
[02:20]: the time I think it's instant I'm not
[02:22]: sure and we're gonna whisk that mm-hmm
[02:36]: that's good enough
[02:39]: all right
[02:40]: so I'm gonna go ahead and put this on
[02:43]: here because I think that's what we're
[02:44]: going to need that for next but what do
[02:47]: we do next
[02:51]: uh in
[02:53]: in Fork up Liquid measuring cup I've got
[02:56]: that right here
[02:58]: whisk together oil brown sugar and water
[03:02]: until brown sugar has dissolved all
[03:05]: right so we have our water here that
[03:07]: we've measured and it is room
[03:10]: temperature so you want it you know a
[03:11]: little on the warm side definitely not
[03:14]: cold I've got that in there then we put
[03:17]: this in here the brown sugar
[03:21]: put it up which we have already
[03:24]: um it measures for uh what was it again
[03:30]: packed so packed brown sugar that's what
[03:32]: you usually do with brown sugar and I'm
[03:34]: going to measure out this just because
[03:35]: it's a really large bottle we needed a
[03:38]: little bit of vegetable oil which I use
[03:42]: um
[03:44]: grape seed oil generally and we mixed it
[03:47]: together yep and you whisk it and we're
[03:49]: using the Whisk
[03:53]: tail
[03:55]: so the good thing about this is we only
[03:57]: have to use one whisk because we whisk
[03:60]: the dry ingredients first and then we
[04:01]: can just whisk to the wet ingredients
[04:03]: using the same whisk
[04:13]: is it pretty good and now what do we do
[04:20]: mix until but uh start mix start mixer
[04:27]: on low speed and slowly pour water
[04:29]: mixture mix until not until no dry flour
[04:34]: is noticeable about two minutes increase
[04:37]: speed to medium or knee and knee dough
[04:40]: for eight minutes stop mixer all right
[04:43]: so excuse the pup outside she's probably
[04:47]: barking at a paper so we're going to
[04:48]: turn it on low which on our says stir
[04:51]: and then you're gonna slowly add that
[04:54]: oh okay
[05:05]: yeah there are some different
[05:06]: ingredients we need after the pretzels
[05:09]: are all shaped and everything but we
[05:11]: don't need that right now so we're not
[05:12]: gonna bother talking about that right
[05:14]: this minute
[05:22]: [Music]
[05:23]: thank you
[05:27]: we could
[05:31]: sort of get all that all into a ball
[05:34]: with our hands a little bit if we're a
[05:36]: little concerned
[05:38]: what do you think uh good
[05:40]: all right I also like to do dough so I'm
[05:43]: also good with that now here's a here's
[05:46]: a tip when you when you are kneading
[05:49]: dough in a mixer you really want to lock
[05:51]: it because otherwise it can go flying
[05:58]: so that was our eight minute timer so
[06:02]: now oh look
[06:04]: it all came cleanly off of the dough
[06:07]: hook that's nice and take this off how
[06:09]: many balls do we have in there about two
[06:11]: about two balls in there we're gonna
[06:13]: take this off
[06:16]: let's go just leave that right there
[06:19]: and move
[06:20]: the mixer out of our way now we take
[06:23]: this now transfer dough to clean counter
[06:27]: and use your hands to knead dough for 30
[06:29]: seconds then form go and just into a
[06:33]: smooth ball see photos
[06:36]: 61.
[06:43]: okay
[06:46]: [Music]
[06:48]: all right your hands are clean right
[06:52]: and like I said
[06:54]: I
[06:56]: have dealt
[06:58]: with dough he and his dad think make
[07:01]: bread together quite a bit
[07:04]: he's the helper
[07:06]: he's the one who likes to cook
[07:09]: my sister
[07:11]: does not
[07:17]: know
[07:19]: how to let go you need to let it go
[07:24]: if there are any bread Masters
[07:28]: telling me how to need this is how I
[07:32]: remember
[07:39]: trying to roast me
[07:43]: foreign
[07:47]: so
[07:49]: thank you
[07:50]: use your the healing your foot pan to
[07:53]: push it away from you ah like that
[07:56]: because we're trying to
[07:58]: develop the gluten and get
[08:01]: it takes a lot to need all right
[08:17]: and then it says turn it into a ball
[08:24]: a little bit
[08:26]: so it's about 30 seconds so I don't know
[08:31]: there we go that's pretty good why you
[08:35]: have to develop the gluten
[08:37]: well that's what makes bread chewy
[08:41]: but what if you don't want chewy bread
[08:43]: what are you
[08:44]: want nice and just bite through and
[08:49]: Dom on it like um a hard pretzel
[08:57]: thank you
[08:58]: all right so you can let's let's see let
[09:01]: me show you
[09:04]: can do it like that and that'll help get
[09:08]: push this together
[09:10]: make it more now you're making it look
[09:12]: like a Chinese food
[09:14]: but then you
[09:18]: roll it like that see and then you fix
[09:22]: the cracks that your mother made
[09:26]: whatever
[09:27]: so this is just the first step it
[09:29]: doesn't really matter what it looks like
[09:31]: right now we're just making it a little
[09:32]: ball
[09:34]: um so in the recipe they tell you to
[09:36]: spray this with non-cook non-stick
[09:40]: cooking spray we don't keep that in the
[09:42]: house so I just put a little bit of our
[09:44]: vegetable oil in here
[09:47]: basically does the same thing yeah and
[09:50]: we're just using a
[09:55]: pastry brush to make sure our bowl is
[09:59]: covered this will keep the dough from
[10:02]: sticking
[10:03]: the bowl there we go
[10:09]: and now we have our ball it's fine it's
[10:11]: fine it's fine I don't want any cracks
[10:13]: my pretzels
[10:15]: we got a lot to do after this so we're
[10:18]: gonna put this in our Bowl in our bowl
[10:20]: and we're gonna cover this with plastic
[10:23]: wrap and we're gonna
[10:25]: we don't need it right this second we
[10:27]: don't have to show them dude
[10:28]: we're gonna cover this with plastic wrap
[10:30]: and we have to let it sit
[10:33]: in a warm place not too warm until it is
[10:38]: doubled until it's twice this size and
[10:41]: how long does that say uh one and a half
[10:45]: hours an hour to an hour and a half
[10:47]: right so we will see you when this is
[10:51]: doubled and let you know how long it
[10:52]: takes
[10:53]: okay so uh
[10:55]: our dough is ready it's been a little
[10:58]: over two hours at this point it's kind
[10:60]: of cool in here but got some bubbles
[11:02]: going on
[11:03]: we're definitely doubled in size
[11:06]: we've turned the oven on and it's heated
[11:08]: to
[11:12]: 425
[11:13]: rack in the middle
[11:15]: and we've prepared a baking tray with
[11:19]: foil foil vegetable oil and a baking
[11:23]: sheet right and we put a put this rack
[11:26]: on it and since we don't have the
[11:29]: vegetable oil spray stuff we just uh use
[11:32]: our brush and some space for oil I'm
[11:36]: going to put this to the side for now
[11:39]: and we don't get this right this second
[11:42]: what do we do with this let's see uh-huh
[11:45]: so we need
[11:48]: some water how much that
[11:52]: we need in a small microwave safe Bowl
[11:57]: we need normally pretzels are boiled
[12:00]: before you bake them kind of like a
[12:03]: bagel in a solution usually with lye as
[12:07]: far as I can tell food grade lie
[12:10]: um we're not doing that you can also
[12:12]: boil them with a baking soda solution
[12:15]: instead we're going to paint them with
[12:19]: baking soda but what we're going to do
[12:21]: now is pour it water into the bacon
[12:24]: combine the water and baking soda into a
[12:27]: microwave safe bowl that is just
[12:30]: a little something
[12:32]: there
[12:33]: that out there
[12:35]: it is almost too much but we're going to
[12:39]: um
[12:39]: put this in the heat it in the microwave
[12:42]: until
[12:44]: it uh for one to two minutes until it's
[12:47]: clear until the baking soda is all
[12:48]: dissolved we're going to put this on our
[12:50]: on our clean counter and then I'm going
[12:53]: to pop the bubbles and yes you can pop
[12:56]: the bubbles
[12:59]: crap and we're supposed to Pat and
[13:02]: stretch it into a six inch square all
[13:06]: right
[13:07]: so
[13:09]: we're gonna keep our plastic wrap
[13:11]: because we're gonna need it in a little
[13:13]: bit
[13:16]: pop all right
[13:18]: let's pull it apart well that's the only
[13:21]: way so
[13:23]: I want to do this we're trying to make a
[13:26]: square can we can you make a square
[13:30]: six inch squares so six inch square is
[13:33]: kind of
[13:37]: yeah kind of like that both directions
[13:39]: so we need this kind of
[13:41]: just pull it apart and squish it that
[13:43]: way and then round it now well make it
[13:50]: [Music]
[13:53]: that's sort of a square
[13:57]: don't matter and then we roll it until
[14:00]: We're Not Gonna Roll this is six inches
[14:03]: we're just patting it into a six inch
[14:04]: square this is approximately
[14:08]: six inches
[14:10]: my hand from here to here is about six
[14:12]: inches so that's a good
[14:14]: we're supposed to cut this into six
[14:17]: equal one inch wide strips so I'm trying
[14:21]: to make sure that we're kind of equal
[14:24]: no no part is too thick or too thin so
[14:28]: that all of our strips will be pretty
[14:30]: much the same and these make six
[14:34]: pretzels six pretzels so we're cutting
[14:37]: this into six strips so you want to cut
[14:41]: it in half put it in half first
[14:44]: I don't know
[14:55]: [Music]
[15:09]: what we're cutting it
[15:11]: into about half see uh-huh and then and
[15:14]: then we cut these pieces into three
[15:16]: uh-huh
[15:19]: we're making six
[15:27]: I'm not throwing behind you
[15:31]: like that
[15:32]: how about I do parallel lines
[15:38]: you can do that like that
[15:43]: I swear you know what pair though is
[15:46]: yes like breadstick parallel
[15:50]: all right
[15:51]: I'm holding a weapon mister
[16:03]: brush it down until it cuts all right
[16:11]: I can't
[16:13]: make parallel lines
[16:16]: okay one of them's gonna be very small
[16:20]: oh don't worry we'll give that one to
[16:22]: truffle
[16:26]: all right so we're gonna cut a little
[16:28]: bit off of this one
[16:30]: just got extra
[16:33]: sure can I eat that no
[16:37]: we're trying to make this one a normal
[16:38]: size one oh my goodness
[16:41]: okay so we're gonna
[16:43]: put these over here
[16:46]: so now we're gonna cover the ones we're
[16:49]: not working with with the plastic wrap
[16:51]: just so they don't dry out
[16:53]: and this one we're gonna work yes so
[16:56]: what I have done
[16:58]: is measured 22 inches and from this side
[17:02]: to this side of the tape I put little
[17:04]: tape markers down
[17:06]: so that I know how long my pretzel needs
[17:08]: to be so we're supposed to
[17:11]: roll this into a 22 inch
[17:16]: rope don't worry it kind of
[17:20]: it will
[17:21]: uh shrink back a little bit too so you
[17:24]: don't have to worry about it if you get
[17:26]: a little bit too long
[17:28]: all right
[17:30]: this is there almost there
[17:33]: and
[17:35]: hey we're trying to make it in the
[17:37]: picture relatively a ruler they used a
[17:41]: ruler and I I used you know a measuring
[17:43]: tape to measure this and now
[17:46]: and now I get to do this part
[17:50]: I'm gonna do this part do you want me to
[17:51]: do the first one and then you can do the
[17:53]: rest no yes no I should do the first one
[17:56]: show you my mistakes now well let me
[17:60]: I've done it before I've made pretzels
[18:02]: one other time before
[18:06]: that was like 20 days ago
[18:10]: for Stella
[18:11]: there was still a bubble in that anyway
[18:14]: so
[18:16]: make it a a u facing away from you
[18:21]: and then twist it pull this up and you
[18:24]: twist it
[18:25]: twice
[18:27]: and then you pull it down you pull it
[18:31]: down and
[18:33]: press them in together so there is one
[18:38]: pretzel my turn and now I think I put it
[18:43]: on the baking sheet on on our baking
[18:46]: sheet
[18:47]: [Music]
[19:01]: push it in there this one's gonna be a
[19:04]: bit lopsided and you can
[19:07]: [Music]
[19:13]: foreign
[19:17]: [Music]
[19:23]: so now we have our water and baking soda
[19:26]: mixture that kind of overflowed boiled
[19:28]: over in the microwave but that's okay
[19:30]: it'll come up pretty well with just a
[19:32]: wet cloth that we're going to use
[19:36]: a
[19:38]: pastry brush and paint the tops and
[19:43]: sides
[19:44]: with this anything left over you don't
[19:48]: need to keep
[19:49]: but uh so you can paint them pretty
[19:52]: liberally this will help them get that
[19:54]: really Brown
[19:56]: um shine shine do you want to I was
[19:59]: gonna let you do smart Tucson so ours
[20:01]: are a little different summer that one's
[20:03]: pretty small and
[20:06]: anyway that'll be fine they'll still
[20:08]: taste delicious
[20:10]: doesn't what matter what it looks like
[20:13]: it matters what it tastes like
[20:23]: but you still want to have good plating
[20:25]: if you're a master chef
[20:27]: [Music]
[20:38]: and then were you gonna sprinkle almost
[20:39]: yep and now we have a little bit of
[20:42]: pretzel salt
[20:44]: um we don't like all too much of this
[20:46]: salt but
[20:48]: um
[20:48]: you want to sprinkle it you just want to
[20:50]: sprinkle that we've measured it out
[20:55]: but it will stick on it because it's
[20:57]: kind of damp now because we painted it
[20:59]: with the water mixture
[21:15]: last ones we made were a bit over salted
[21:18]: they they did end it up a little end up
[21:20]: a little over salted but I think we used
[21:22]: more salt than this even on those ones
[21:24]: so
[21:27]: I will let's see let me just make sure
[21:30]: we have
[21:31]: a little bit of salt sort of everywhere
[21:35]: it does a lot of it falls off but oh
[21:38]: well
[21:40]: you know machines do it a lot better
[21:43]: yeah yeah yeah you keep saying that
[21:47]: so
[21:48]: these go in the oven for 10 to 12
[21:51]: minutes you want them to be very very
[21:53]: deep golden brown so
[21:56]: can put them in our 425 degree oven
[22:08]: Echo set a timer for 10 minutes
[22:11]: oh that is very salty it's starting next
[22:14]: so one more thing we need to do now is
[22:17]: we need to melt some butter we're going
[22:19]: to melt some unsalted butter and when
[22:22]: our pretzels are done we're going to
[22:23]: butter them we're going to paint them
[22:26]: just like we did with the water we're
[22:29]: going to paint them with melted butter
[22:32]: so we'll show you when they're all done
[22:35]: how we do that okay these just came out
[22:38]: of the oven we cooked them for 12
[22:39]: minutes you can definitely tell
[22:42]: um where we got well they're very hot
[22:44]: where we got uh the baking soda mixture
[22:47]: pretty well and where we didn't because
[22:49]: those areas the areas that we did hit
[22:52]: really well are pretty brown and then
[22:54]: some areas are not Brown at all but I'm
[22:57]: pretty sure they're done
[22:58]: this one closed up a lot anyway not bad
[23:02]: for a first try right right so we've got
[23:06]: melted unsalted butter
[23:08]: and do you want to paint them yes let's
[23:11]: uh move it there so we don't get butter
[23:13]: all over the place
[23:16]: somehow I managed to yeah you're my son
[23:23]: so these will be buttery pretzels she
[23:26]: said it here folks I'm her son
[23:30]: well we all knew that
[23:31]: [Music]
[23:40]: there we go we're gonna let these cool
[23:41]: for a few minutes so we're gonna taste
[23:43]: them and we'll be back to let you know
[23:45]: what we think
[23:46]: [Music]
[23:54]: on this episode of clicking the books
[23:56]: with Heather you watched us make soft
[23:58]: pretzels from the America's Test Kitchen
[24:01]: book of the complete baking book for
[24:04]: young chefs for with my young Chef right
[24:07]: here and uh to be fair be entirely
[24:11]: truthful we forgot to film this right
[24:14]: afterwards
[24:15]: so I'm not sure we remember a whole lot
[24:18]: about these but what do you remember I
[24:22]: remember that
[24:24]: we didn't put as much salt on these as
[24:27]: you as we did on your your pretzels
[24:30]: right so I made pretzels before this and
[24:32]: with a different method and somebody
[24:34]: thought they were way too salty they
[24:37]: were so we used less salt I think than
[24:40]: they said here which was better
[24:41]: right yeah
[24:43]: um this used a
[24:46]: much more kid-friendly uh version of the
[24:51]: baking soda
[24:53]: uh usually you boil the pretzels in
[24:56]: baking soda and that can be a little bit
[24:58]: difficult for you know a little bit
[24:59]: hazardous for a younger Chef right
[25:04]: so so this one we just brushed it with a
[25:09]: baking soda and water mixture which I
[25:11]: think we didn't do a great job of
[25:13]: getting all of the areas brushed because
[25:16]: that's what helps you get the really
[25:17]: really Brown pretzel
[25:20]: uh color and flavor
[25:23]: so we didn't do a great job with that so
[25:25]: I think the boiling is better but this
[25:27]: is actually fine for the younger chefs
[25:30]: but just be a little bit more careful to
[25:31]: get it all over the pretzel
[25:37]: what's that stuff
[25:39]: it's probably a lot of people eat
[25:41]: pretzels with mustard so that's probably
[25:43]: what that is maybe honey mustard
[25:46]: um but we found it relatively easy right
[25:49]: it wasn't too hard shaping them takes a
[25:52]: little practice
[25:54]: right it was a little bit difficult to
[25:56]: get the shape right
[25:58]: but once you do it it gets easier and so
[26:01]: if you make these more often they'd be
[26:02]: pretty easy
[26:04]: and they were pretty good they tasted
[26:05]: they were a little bit more bready than
[26:08]: pretzly but it was still really good so
[26:11]: in my opinion what do you think
[26:15]: um well I think that
[26:19]: on your face
[26:20]: I feel like
[26:22]: we I feel like everyone should enjoy the
[26:26]: pretzels as much as everyone else okay
[26:30]: so I feel like I agree with you
[26:32]: okay
[26:34]: did you did you enjoy the pretzels
[26:36]: yes very much we really like soft
[26:38]: pretzels right
[26:42]: yes is that it
[26:45]: all right so if you enjoyed watching us
[26:49]: make this please give us a thumbs up hit
[26:52]: the Subscribe button and come back and
[26:55]: watch some and watch something else next
[26:57]: week that's right hopefully we'll get a
[26:59]: little a few more of these out now
[27:01]: because we have several that we filmed
[27:03]: we just
[27:04]: have an editing back box so
[27:08]: we'll see you soon
[27:10]: [Music]