ATK Kids

Make Pretzels Worth Their Salt, No Boiling Required

It’s possible to get that perfect outer crust just by using your oven.

Published Jan. 21, 2022.

For most of my life, the process of making soft pretzels was a complete mystery to me.

Every time I bit into a warm, salty pretzel (usually dunked in beer cheese), I’d wonder: How did the bakers get that hard, shiny crust on the outside with a satisfyingly chewy inside? And could I replicate it in my own kitchen?

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It turns out that most pretzels are boiled, often in a lye solution, before baking to ensure that the exterior comes out just right. Thinking that sounded like too much of a hassle for your average home baker (e.g., me), I went looking for a shortcut.

In ATK Kids’ The Complete Baking for Young Chefs, I found a recipe that takes boiling out of the equation entirely. That makes it easier, faster, and safe enough for kids to do, too.

The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs

Think baking fun starts and ends with cupcakes? Think again! From breakfast to breads and from cookies to cakes (yes, even cupcakes!), kids can learn to bake it all with the help of this cookbook.  

The key ingredient that allows for the shortcut is baking soda. Like lye, baking soda is an alkaline substance, and when mixed with water and brushed over the pretzel dough, it changes the pH of the dough and gelates the surface starch. In the oven, the starch gel hardens and the alkaline baking soda makes browning happen fast. When you take the pretzels out of the oven, they’ve got the perfect dark, shiny finish—ballpark-worthy pretzels without the boil.

You can find the full recipe for Soft Pretzels—as well as our recipe for Pretzel Rolls—on the ATK Kids website.


Soft Pretzels

You can make ballpark-worthy soft pretzels with with this easy recipe adapted especially for kids.
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