Cook up a batch of our favorite homemade soft pretzels recipe, and you’ll be instantly popular with adults and children alike.
Remember at the beginning of World Vegan Month when I said I’m a ninety percenter? Well, here’s something I did this weekend. I had like ninety percent of my hair chopped off. Friday morning, my hair was all the way down to there, and by Saturday it was riding way up in here. See what I’m saying?
Now, I’m a girl from New Jersey, so a major haircut is big news, end of story. But here’s why this story is even bigger news than usual. How many major haircuts do you think I got this weekend? Do you think I’d be asking that question if I’d stopped at just one? No, sir. I would not, and I did not. I got ninety percent of my hair chopped off on Friday night, and then I went back to the salon on Sunday evening and got it completely re-cut. The first time, it just wasn’t right. When it’s not right, you know.
Sometimes — like after the second haircut in a weekend — it is right. And then, too, you know. There are only so many total do-overs that one week can handle, so I’m glad to report on a couple of moments from the past week that were so very right on the first try. The kind of right that makes the order in the universe palpable for a fleeting moment. The kind of right we’re all chasing.
First, these pretzels. I’ve been making them for years, since the seven-year-old child was a one-year-old child, and the dozen moms in our playgroup used to elbow our own barely mobile children out of the way for a pretzel to eat with our strong, strong mommy coffee. These pretzels make people ridiculously happy. You should make them for the people you love.
And second, the event that inspired me to make these pretzels this week. London readers, take note, and take the tube at your earliest convenience to the Swiss Cottage station to Bake with Maria. That pretty lady up there in the photos is Maria. Don’t you just love her at first sight?
There, too, is a cinnamon roll that she baked. Don’t you love her even more now?
Maria Mayerhofer, an expert home baker, has been teaching bread- and cake-baking classes out of her own kitchen for several years. With demand having grown too great for a home-based business, she’s recently opened The Baking Lab, a charming space in St. John’s Wood, and expanded her roster of classes and private event hosting. From the first moment I watched Maria work, I could feel the rightness of this new venture in my bones. If you’re interested in stepping up your bread-baking skills, or in pairing pretzels with beer, or honestly just in spending a few hours with someone whose infectious energy and knowledge is worth more than a few hours of your time, I recommend you sign up for one of her classes.
I’ll take one of everything, please, and three dozen pretzels. Plus a few for the family.
Right. So here’s your to-do list for the week. Make soft pretzels. Bake with Maria. And try to keep the haircuts to a minimum. Two at the most, k?
Talk to you soon.
Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
This pretzel dough, adapted from Martha Stewart, is forgiving and easy to work with. You can knead it in a stand mixer or by hand. Soft pretzels get their appealing chewiness from a quick poaching in water and baking soda before heading off to the oven. This extra step may seem like a bit of a hassle, but it's a small price to pay for the magic it creates.
- 2 cups warm water (should feel warm but not very hot to the touch)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or substitute up to 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 Tablespoons baking soda
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- Sesame seeds, for sprinkling