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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3rd Day of Christmas–Soft Pretzels and a Cookie Exchange

I love making bread for Christmas gifts.  When the house smells like bread, it reminds me of the holidays.  Lately, I have been craving pretzels.  The really soft ones that you could dip into cheese or mustard.  I set out to make some.  I found the recipe on Fresh Loaf.  The recipe was adapted from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread: a Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.  I actually have this book and I didn’t realized this recipe was in there. 


(adapted from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread: a Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes)

1 Tsp of Instant Yeast

1 Tbl of Brown Sugar

2 Cups of Bread Flour

1 Tsp of Salt

1 Cup of Warm Milk


  1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl and mix until it is fully incorporated.  Do not place the yeast by the salt or it will kill the yeast.
  2. When the dough forms a ball and it is quite stretchy, remove it from the mixer and continue to knead it by hand for 5 minutes.
  3. Place it in a large bowl covered to allow it to rise.  It took about an hour.
  4. When the dough doubles in size, start boiling water in a large pot and preheat the oven to 425F.
  5. Shape the dough into little pretzels (I made bows).
  6. Let it rise again for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Drop it into the water and when it floats to the top, removed from the water and allow it to dry.
  8. Once dried, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with salt 5 minutes prior removing from oven.
  9. Serve (Hot if possible, it is so good)


Btw it didn’t totally taste like a pretzel.  The Best Friend (Girl) and myself could not place the taste until I asked The Husband and he said, it tasted like a bagel duh….I have no idea how that happened. 


I actually served this at a cookie exchange I had with my book club


I’m planning to make for Christmas gifts.  If anyone knows where I could get colored salt, please let me know.   I wanted to be a little festive Open-mouthed smile.


Here are some pictures from our cookie exchange.



Tomato and Mozzarella drizzled with vinegar and balsamic vinegar.


Stuff Mushrooms with Italian sausage.


I attempted to make fondue


Bacon Wrapped Asparagus


Mini Quiches (thanks to Costco)


Here is our spread


Here are the different cookies we had.


  1. What a fun get together for your book club! That must be so fun, getting together with friends and food to talk about books like that.

  2. I love baking bread to give as holiday gifts! My friends and I even do a bread exchange each year. A few years ago I found colored salt at Williams Sonoma but they might not carry it anymore.

  3. OOhhh!!1 Your exchange looks wonderful! Best "cookie" exchange I've ever seen! Love that you had more than just cookies and made an evening of it. The pretzels look so good too. My daughter has been asking to make some, we will have to do it!

  4. looks like you had a fun cookie exchange! great job on the bread too ;)

  5. A big feast! And can you colour your own salt?

  6. looks yummy ! and I think your bookclub members will be pampered by it :D

  7. Your pretzels look so good! My Bunco group used to have a Cookie Exchange similar to yours; we had appetizers, played Bunco, exchanged cookies, had a gift exchange, and then we had dessert-What an evening.

  8. Those homemade pretzel looks so amazing :) I just wanna be in your bookclub :)

  9. I want to come to your next cookie exchange! The soft pretzels look fantastic. I'll have to try your recipe since these are a favorite in our family. thanks for sharing.