Easy No Knead, No Rise Soft Pretzels {Kid Friendly,too}

homemade pretzels
These soft pretzels are good, though I’m not going to pretend like they are the best soft pretzels anywhere (you know, like the ones from the stores that make thousands from selling them…), and they are the easiest homemade ones I’ve found. They are chewy and soft like a pretzel should be (not just a roll shaped like a pretzel) and straight out of the oven are fabulous.

And without any boiling or long-rise steps, they are a great kid-friendly recipe. In fact, they are so easy (and yummy) that making these with kids (of all ages) will make you their favorite ____________ (fill in the blank: mom, dad, babysitter, aunt, grandparent…). Your family will be pretty happy with the results, too. They are usually gone in a day at our house.

Since there are only a few quick ingredients to mix up and no waiting for kneading or rising, kids can move right to shaping their own pieces of dough. From there it’s another few minutes to bake and cool (a bit!) before tasting their creations.

I started making these when my kids were little as something fun to do when they had playdates. One of my friends and I organized bi-weekly play dates to give the other some time for errands and shopping and her girls surprised me by asking to make these every time they came over. Did I mention they were over once a month? And they always wanted to make the pretzels- not anything else. Same with my nieces a few years later.

And now I’m making them with my littlest niece and nephew. My 2-year-old niece enjoyed pouring in the ingredients and “patting” the dough, but was a little too young for the rolling out part.

My four-year-old nephew has it down, though, and rolled out enough dough pieces to make all the letters of his name (I helped shape them), plus more.

The kids always love the “painting” part. They brush on an egg wash and sprinkle the tops with some kosher salt.

By the way, the egg wash is crucial, I feel, to giving this simple bread dough the chewy mouth feel of a pretzel- so don’t skip this step or use butter instead. While butter tastes good, it makes the pretzel more roll-like, if you know what I mean.

The dough is pretty easy to shape and doesn’t spring back like a lot of bread doughs can. Some ideas for shapes are:

Letters (great crossover activity for preschoolers learning their letters!).

Hearts. Valentines, anyone?

Traditional pretzel shapes.

And even the “blob” for those little ones who just can’t grasp the “roll” technique yet. I always let them make whatever shape they want and help only when they ask so that they have a feeling of accomplishment.

And when they take that first bite? The pretzel tastes that much sweeter.

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Easy No Knead, No Rise Soft Pretzels

  • 1 Tb. instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 c. warm water
  • 1 Tb. honey
  • 1 Tb. salt (yep, a tablespoon- they’re pretzels, after all!)
  • 4 c. flour (I use whole wheat pastry or 1/2 white and 1/2 regular whole wheat)
  • 1 egg (for wash)
  • salt for sprinkling (kosher is best for the familiar “pretzel salt,” but sea salt will do fine)
  1. Combine yeast, water, honey, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Stir in flour and mix until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (a couple minutes). The dough should be smooth to the touch, and will stick only when pulling off pieces- as soon as you start rolling for the pretzel shape, it should not stick to your hands or surface (add just a touch more flour if you have sticking problems- I never have to, though).
  3. Start preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Pull off pieces of dough (alternately, pat dough out and cut to get more even pieces), shape into letters, hearts, pretzels, animals, etc. and place on lined or greased cookie sheets.*
  5. Mix the egg with a bit of water and brush all over the dough shapes, then sprinkle with some salt.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
  7. Cool for a few minutes before taking the first fabulous bite! The leftovers (if you have any…) can be stored in an airtight container (or frozen) and reheated in an oven for few minutes before eating.

*I always do one sheet at a time, as the first sheet will be done before you’ve finished shaping all the pretzels for the second sheet.

Makes approximately 20, depending on the size each pretzel.

 

This is linked to Tasty Traditions,Frugal Friday, Finer Things Friday, Fun w/Food Friday, andSaturday Nite Special.

Comments

  1.  says

    Oh,I have all the ingredients except honey. Oh,this looks easy. I LOVE pretzels. When I lived in Germany,I’dbuy soft pretzels all the time at the grocery store..like the ones here and ones that looked like rolls too..so yummy. I’deven go to the local bakery and buy a soft pretzel sliced in half with nice butter on it ;) :) Oh so yummy…now I can make this at home for myself!!!! Thank you, thank you :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  2. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Jason- I’m sure the soda-water-bath would give that chewy texture just like it does to bagels. That would surely be the way to go if you’re trying to make the best soft pretzels, but since I’m usually just trying to please the kids, I don’t bother. :-)

    Let us know if you do and how it comes out!

  3. Jason says

    Jami,
    I’ve been wanting to try to make my own pretzels for a long time, thanks for inspiring me!
    The first time I considered doing this is when I saw an episode of Good Eats where they made pretzels.
    Check it out. http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/season11/EA1102.htm

    The one thing in this that you might find interesting is the baking soda boiling water bath. I guess the alkalinity is supposed to give the pretzels that characteristic outside.
    I haven’t tried it yet, but as Alton Brown is rarely wrong, I thought I’d share.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  4. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I made these tonight with my 9 & 4 year old little neighbor boys and they LOVED them! Such an easy, quick and fun recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Bel says

    Made these with my son this evening using whole wheat flour and they turned out great! We had so much fun making different shapes. Thanks for posting! Love your site =)

  6. Amber says

    You say in the first step to combine all the dry ingredients, including sugar, but there is no sugar in the ingredient list- is the first 1 Tb salt supposed to be sugar, or do you mean the honey? Thnx

    • says

      Well, Amber, you’re the first in all these years to catch that! I adapted the original recipe to use honey and didn’t make it consistent in the directions – I’ve fixed it now to say honey (though it’s not all dry ingredients – it’s the first 4, which includes water). You should be good to go now. :)

  7. Andrea says

    We are on a quest to eliminate processed foods (really we have done so with almost everything). I don’t like to use regular sugar either so these are perfect for us. Just made them with my 8 and 5 year old boys and they said they were the best pretzels ever so I guess they were a hit. Helping to make them was educational for them too. Thanks for the great recipe. My husband will appreciate it tonight also as he missed his “processed” foods lol.

    • says

      So nice to read, Andrea – they really have been a hit with all the kids I’ve ever made them with. Kind of amazed me, actually, as they aren’t that hard. :)

    • says

      It’s just bread, Maya, so as long as your 2-year old is eating all types of foods, it should be fine. The pretzels are a little chewy, though, so I’d just break of little pieces and give them to the baby.

      • Maya says

        thanks jami she’s my first baby so i ask alot :D its soooo yumm by the way we tried it and i gave it to her with a small cup of milk

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